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Vaccine for coronavirus in the market & misinformations

A letter by Dr. Balram Bhargava, the head of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to his colleague doctors; read coronavirus vaccine would be ready by August 15. For a brief moment people flooded with happiness, but the short-lived smiles died; When the council clarified that the letter was just for infusing a sense of emergency. And that the vaccine to this deadly virus would be hard to see by the dawn of 2020.

The urgency for a vaccine is increasing every day and is incontrovertible important; this urgency is giving a wide road for misinformation to spread like a forest fire. In the pandemic, much of such misinformation has been circulated via various social media platforms.

News like this fills us with the hope of a back-to-normal life. Everyone is desperately waiting for the end of the pandemic. But how long would it be till we have a vaccine? How fast can it be developed? How long do we have to live as if we are in captivity?

Vaccine: how does it work?

For a better understanding of how vaccines actually work it is important to understand our body’s retaliation to a foreign pathogen.

Immune System

Whenever any pathogen attacks a human body, the immune system retaliates to it. Our immune system performs broadly three functions for protection from a pathogen.

  • Detection of Pathogens: It detects the foreign virus or bacteria that enter our body.
  • Removing Pathogen: The second thing that our system does after detecting any pathogen in the body is try to remove it. This is done with the help of ”white blood cells. During this process, the body shows mild symptoms of illness like fever, cough, etc. These symptoms show that our body is trying to battle the virus. The white blood cells generate antibodies to fight against the virus.
  • Memorize Pathogen: Our immune system after the wrest removal of the rife virus remembers the structure of the pathogen. So, when the pathogen again attacks the body it knows how to fight the virus. It develops antibodies for the pathogen and stores the information in our DNA.

What vaccines do?

The vaccine’s omnipotent power prepares our immune system before the attack of the virus. It feeds the process of forming antibodies in our DNA; in that case, our body knows how to battle the pathogen before the attack.

With the help of vaccines, our immune system removes the pathogen easily and quickly after the attack, sometimes even without the mild symptoms. Now, one obvious question is; What if there is a vaccine that can form antibodies in our DNA?

How does a vaccine work?

Most of the vaccine contains the pathogen itself for which it is made but in different states.

  • Live Attenuated Vaccine: these vaccines contain dead pathogens and are used in smallpox. It is a very effective vaccine but it takes a lot of time to be completely developed.
  • Inactivated Vaccine: this contains the pathogen which is weakened, it is used in flu, polio, and rabies. But this does not provide long-lasting immunity; one has to repeat the dosage after some intervals.
  • Subunit Vaccine: this contains the pathogen’s parts and is used in treating Hepatitis B.

We all are born, in a time where most of us already have access to every vaccine important for a healthy body; but conditions have not always been this friendly. Vaccines have saved millions of lives over centuries. For example, before the invention of vaccines in the 1700s child mortality rate was 50%, compared to today it is less than 1%. This is the boon that we are privileged to have. But how much time is needed for the development of vaccines?

How much time is needed for the development of a Vaccine?

Usually, the development of a vaccine could take about a decade, but at the pace at which the entire world is indulged in the process, it could take less than 2 years to be developed. There are mainly three stages for the formation of a Vaccine.

First proper research on the vaccine is done. Then the testing is done, first on microorganism or animals; then on a small set of people known as pre-clinical testing. After that thousand of people are dosed with the vaccine and observed for about a year known as clinical testing. Once complete testing is done and the vaccine passes with flying colors, it is sent for government approval.

Manufacturing of vaccines starts once it gets a green signal from the government. For availability at a large scale mass production is important. This stage demands a lot of capital and resources which takes a lot of time.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Seeing the urgency of the pandemic, from all around the world various institutes are trying their best to develop a vaccine as soon as possible. According to WHO’s draft list, 149 vaccines are in a developing stage, 19 of these are in clinical testing while 130 are at the preclinical stage. In China, the military is already using the vaccine, but in a limited way.

The top potential vaccine for the virus includes the one by Non-Replicating Viral Vector, university of Oxford. This vaccine’s phase 1 trials have already been completed. Phase 2 trials have been started on 22 June in Brazil, where they are testing 5000 people.

The hope is that by the end of August, the world will know whether would the vaccine be successful or not. If it succeeded, by the beginning of 2021 it is expected to be available in the market.

COVID-19: medical endgame

There is no doubt, that the virus will end, it can not bind us forever. Soon some institutes will succeed in making vaccines and the pandemic would end. The intensity of the virus’s spread has already decreased in many parts of the world but at the same time have yet not reached its peak of spread in other.

Misinformation in this time can be more lethal than the virus. Social media platforms these days have led such misinformation’s spread more quickly. The pandemic will end, and once again every one of us would breathe the fresh air without masks, but we shall not hurry. Developing a vaccine takes time, scientists do understand the urgency of it and they are already in the lather. Putting pressure on them for a quick vaccine would not help, but will only slow the process.

Authorities should maintain transparency, even if their progress is small or not as per expected. This is the only way of saving people from misinformation.

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