The search for coronavirus vaccine intensifies

When will the coronavirus vaccine be ready?

It might take a minimum of 12-18 months for the coronavirus vaccine to be ready and publicly available. A number of drugs are being developed and tested by researchers across the world to create the vaccine. More than 100 clinical trials with various potential drugs have been conducted, and coronavirus human trials are expected to begin soon. As the world is in a race to find the vaccine for the deadly virus, China is expected to conduct the first COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials by the end of April 2020.

The only way to stop the spread of the highly infectious novel coronavirus is to find a vaccine. The hunt for coronavirus vaccine continues at a global level, with all major companies and research institutes trying hard to find the most effective drug. The challenge now is not just finding the effective drug, but to find it quickly.

Why is it taking so long to create the coronavirus vaccine?

Developing a vaccine is not a quick process, we have a history of creating vaccines that took about 2-5 years to be ready for public use. The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is a new strain and it is important to completely understand its characteristics and behavior in the human body. Even after a complete analysis, the potential vaccine that has been developed cannot be directly used. The vaccine has to be tested at different stages to ensure it is completely safe, effective and stable.

Once the vaccine is ready, it undergoes an initial preclinical testing, where it is either tested on animal models or human beings. The vaccines that successfully pass the initial preclinical stage are put for further human trials. The clinical trials are conducted in different stages with infected and healthy human beings, categorized in various age groups and health history. The process cannot be completed overnight, it’s a length process involving a minimum of a few months.

The process does not stop at finding a safe and effective drug, it’ll have to clear the necessary regulatory approvals to find its way to the market for public use. Each stage of any vaccine development faces potential challenges. In the current scenario, the coronavirus infection has spread worldwide and one of the main hurdles to coronavirus vaccine development is checking the feasibility of the vaccine for global immunization.

The expected coronavirus vaccine is likely to be effective long-term

According to a new study by the researchers, SARS-CoV-2 that is responsible for the outbreak of COVID-19 disease is relatively a slow mutating strain than other respiratory viruses. The slow mutation indicates that the virus is stable in the present state and expected not to get any dangerous as it spreads. It is likely that the vaccine that’ll be created will be effective for a longer time.

According to a report by NPR News, the coronaviruses are found to reduce the number of mutations. They proofread their own genomes when they replicate and cut on the things that don’t seem right. With such a stable strain, the prospective vaccine is going to be highly effective for long-term use.

Global effort to find an effective COVID-19 vaccine

The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, demanding a vaccine soon to prevent people from getting sick. This coronavirus outbreak has become a global issue with scientists from different countries working furiously to find a vaccine.

The research to find the coronavirus vaccine intensifies at the global level.

Coronavirus vaccine trials in China

As the research to find the coronavirus vaccine intensifies at the global level, China gears up to launch early-stage clinical trials of the potential vaccine. It was reported that nearly 5,000 coronavirus vaccine volunteers signed up for the first phase of the clinical trial in China’s Wuhan city. The trial requires at least 108 healthy adults aged 18-60 years who will be quarantined for 14-days and the health condition will be recorded daily. The research will be conducted in Hubei, Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

China has started the research on developing a vaccine for coronavirus soon after the disease spread in Wuhan last year. Dr. Kathryn Stephenson, who runs the clinical trial unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, in a conversation with The Los Angeles Times said that scientists in China have made the RNA sequence of coronavirus available on 10 January 2020 and researchers across the globe can work fast now.

COVID-19 vaccine development in the US

Recently, the US has surpassed China in the number of coronavirus cases in the country. The US is vigorously working to develop a vaccine for the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the US government announced the first phase trial of a new vaccine called mRNA-1273. This vaccine was developed by the NIAID (The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) scientists in collaboration with Moderna, a biotechnology company in Cambridge. According to Anthony S Fauci, Director, NIAID, “Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 is an urgent public health priority. This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step towards achieving that goal.” The coronavirus vaccine US is expected to take a huge positive leap soon.

Gilead Sciences, Inc., a California-based biotechnology company is testing Remdesivir on a randomized, controlled clinical trial in Wuhan. Remdesivir is a novel antiviral used to treat people with pneumonia. The coronavirus vaccine Gilead trial was approved by China’s Food and Drug Administration in February 2020.

President Donald Trump highlighted hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, antimalarial drugs, as a promising treatment for the COVID-19. The effort was quite disappointing as it didn’t perform well on mild COVID-19 cases in China. The Swiss-based pharmaceutical company, Novartis, also cautioned that it could be too soon to decide if these antimalarial drugs can be a definitive vaccine.

India’s effort in finding the coronavirus vaccine

India is all geared up to develop vaccines for coronavirus. Both the public and the private sectors are focused on creating a vaccine against the virus that has killed over 25,000 people worldwide. The Indian pharmaceutical giant, Zydus Cadila, is conducting preclinical trials for two vaccines. Another institute, Serum Institute of India (SII), has started the trials for coronavirus vaccine for animals in collaboration with Codagenix, a US biotechnology company. They expect the animal trials to complete in another two months, and start the human trial hence after.  In another research, the Mumbai-based Indian pharmaceutical major has teamed up with Hyderabad-based CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) to repurpose three antiviral drugs Remdesivir, Favipiravir and Baloxavir. Remdesivir was initially developed to treat Ebola, whereas Favipiravir and Baloxavir are approved medication for influenza A and B. Scientists are working vigorously to find the coronavirus vaccine in India.

Norway-based company aims to develop coronavirus vaccine

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is developing a vaccine for COVID-19. It has further requested funding of $2bn to support the development of the successful vaccine against the novel coronavirus. It aims to develop at least three vaccines for emergency use.

CEPI has already entered in partnering agreements with Novavax and The University of Oxford for the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccine. The hope still remains that the ongoing coronavirus vaccine trial UK may bring relief to the world.

Israel close to finding the coronavirus vaccine?

A recent report by Israel’s daily Ha’aretz stated that Israel’s Institute for Biological Research had a significant breakthrough in understanding the biological mechanism and qualities of the coronavirus. The process also led to a better understanding of the diagnostic capability and the production of antibodies in the infected person’s body. According to the research institute, the coronavirus vaccine Israel will need a series of testing and experiments and it’ll take a few more months for the vaccine to be ready.

How do we defeat COVID-19 until the vaccine is ready?

The coronavirus vaccine is being developed by scientists from different countries across the globe, but the virus is spreading at a faster rate than expected. How do we control the spreading of the virus until the vaccine is developed? Waiting for the vaccine is not the solution, every one of us should put our hands together and act as a responsible citizen.

How can we stop (or minimize) the spread of coronavirus?

Quarantine: Stay in self-isolation until the coronavirus epidemic is in control. Whether you are infected or not, quarantine yourself. If you are infected, self-isolation will help you stop spreading the infection; if you are not infected, with self-isolation you’ll stay safe without being infected.

Social distancing: Stay at least 3-feet away from people, especially when they are coughing or sneezing. Move away from people who are coughing or sneezing, because, if you come in contact with the liquid droplets of the infected person, the chances of you getting infected is very high.

Hand hygiene: Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and use an alcohol-based sanitizer to kill the viruses.

Avoid touching your face: Hands may pick up viruses from any surface. When you avoid touching your face, you restrict the virus from entering your body.

Avoid touching your face: Hands may pick up viruses from any surface. When you avoid touching your face, you restrict the virus from entering your body.

Seek medical help: Visit a doctor if you notice these symptoms: cough, cold, fever, or difficulty in breathing.

By following these simple practices we can keep the coronavirus from spreading.