It is perhaps the United Kingdom that first realized that its strategy to mitigate the impact of the Covid 19 Pandemic would not work unless the outbreak can be “suppressed.” The mitigation and home quarantine alone cannot solve this global issue at large; however, it may slow down the global epidemic but not necessarily stop it. In a report published by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team on Monday, it said that the mitigation approach that the government of various countries all across the world is emphasizing is not working anymore, and it needs something more robust to check the spread of this deadly virus. The report reads like, “Our most significant conclusion is that mitigation is unlikely to be feasible without emergency surge capacity limits of the UK and US healthcare systems being exceeded many times over.”
Now the US government is taking the initiative to oar the world out of this crisis period, by inventing the first Coronavirus vaccine. It has begun the phase 1 clinical trial of an investigational vaccine named mRNA -1273 designed to protect against the coronavirus disease, which has already claimed thousands of lives all across the world. The vaccine is developed by the NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is a wing of NIH or the National Institutes of Health), scientists and their collaborators at Moderna, Inc. which is a renowned biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The trial began at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI), which is based in Seattle. To encourage the US government to take the research forward, many volunteers are coming up to take the trial vaccine. As such, this open-label trial needs at least 45 healthy adult volunteers aged between 18 to 55 years who will be kept under medical surveillance for approximately six weeks. They would be given two vaccines, one month apart. Till now, only four patients have been given the vaccine and the researches said that even though the vaccine was incorporated in ‘record time,’ it will take months to almost a year to know the result, whether this vaccine is actually working or not.
The first person in Seattle who has received the vaccine is a 43-year-old woman who is also a mother of two. Even though the biotechnology company, Moderna Therapeutics, assured that “the vaccine has been made using a tried and tested process.” They said that the vaccine would certainly not cause Covid-19, but it contains a harmless genetic code that is copied from the Covid 19 virus that causes the disease.
Dr. John Tregoning, an expert in infectious diseases from Imperial College London, said, “This vaccine uses pre-existing technology. It’s been made to a very high standard, using things that we know are safe to use in people and those taking part in the trial will be very closely monitored. Yes, this is very fast – but it is a race against the virus, not against each other as scientists, and it’s being done for the benefit of humanity.”
US President Donald Trump said in a conference, “I’m pleased to report today that a vaccine candidate has begun the phase one clinical trial. This is one of the fastest vaccine development launches in history. Not even close. We’re also racing to develop antiviral therapies and other treatments.”
How are Other Countries working to come up with a vaccine for COVID-19?
A day after the U.S. had launched its first investigational vaccine subjected to human trials for the novel coronavirus, China also announced on Tuesday said its scientists are implementing five different approaches (namely inactivated vaccines, nucleic acid vaccines, adenovirus vector vaccines, genetic engineering subunit vaccines, and vaccines using attenuated influenza virus as vectors) to develop the Coronavirus vaccines. A vaccine is being developed in Shanghai, which is expected to enter the clinical trials latest by the mid of April.
2 Indian companies, namely Gujarat-based Zydus Cadila and Pune based Serum Institute, are collaborating with the pharmaceutical company named Codagenix, which is based in America to develop Covid 19 vaccines in India. Zydus had announced last month to schedule for an accelerated research program with multiple Indian and European teams to develop the nCoV vaccine. But then it also said that the process could not happen overnight, and it needs a significant amount of time to bear with the crisis.
The countries all over the world have announced for isolation procedures to be taken seriously, because the less the amount of human exposure, the lesser will be the risks of the virus spread.