English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Scientists race to find corona vaccine

Scientists race to find corona vaccine

<div id="js_b" class="_5pbx userContent _3576" data-testid="post_message" data-ft="{&quot;tn&quot;:&quot;K&quot;}">

Ateet Sharma

As the overall number of infected cases and the death toll continue to rise alarmingly all over the world, the question everyone is asking right now from Seattle to Seoul, Dublin to Delhi is: when will the coronavirus vaccine be ready?

Physicians, scientists, or vaccinologists to be precise, are working overtime as some of the globe's leading companies (over three dozen) race against each other to find the medicine which can contain the outbreak.

Boston-based biotech firm Moderna, which got the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus shared by the Chinese authorities as early as January 11, is believed to be ahead than the rest.

In another corner of the planet, Japanese biopharmaceutical company AnGes, which launched a joint DNA vaccine development research program against coronavirus in partnership with Osaka University, is believed to start vaccine testing on animals soon.

China’s CanSino Biologics has meanwhile already started human testing at virus epicentre Wuhan.

“Thanks to our collaborators and our diligent team, who worked almost around the clock since late January to develop this vaccine candidate with sound scientific data to support IND filing,” said Xuefeng Yu, the CEO and chairman of CanSino, in a statement.

While China has done well by sharing the ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequence of the coronavirus, it may still take months for the vaccine to be available for general public.

Moderna’s infectious disease research team, which is finalizing the sequence for mRNA-1273, the company’s vaccine against the coronavirus, has revealed that "a commercially-available" vaccine is not likely to be available for at least 12-18 months.

"However, it is possible that under emergency use, a vaccine could be available to some people, possibly including healthcare professionals, in the fall of 2020," the company said in a statement.

The Russians aren't lagging behind. The country's Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA) believes that a vaccine will be ready and available for public in 11 months.

Veronika Skvortsova, who currently heads the FMBA and has been Russia's health minister for eight years before becoming the WHO President, has announced that the first stage in preparation of the vaccine is already completed.

The Oslo-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a non-profit organization set up to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases, is providing initial funding to many companies to develop COVID-19 vaccine.

“CEPI was set up to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious threats like COVID-19. One of the ways we’re doing this is by bridging the gap between public and private sectors to pool resources and expertise to jump start the vaccine development process. I’m pleased that CEPI has been able to help establish and fund this consortium of leading vaccine developers, through our recent call for proposals, to harness this measles vector platform to develop a vaccine against COVID-19," said Richard Hatchett, the chief executive officer of CEPI.

On March 6, the organization issued an urgent call for $2 billion of new funding to enable and expand the number of COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development and to fund the clinical trials for these candidate vaccines.

The world seems to be together like never before in this fight against the global pandemic but, as it seems to be panning out, we may still be months away from finding a coronavirus vaccine in the local medical store.

Till then, the age-old phrase 'better safe than sorry' would continue to be associated with coronavirus.