Viral posts claiming Israel and the United States have already developed vaccines for the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus, are misleading with the World Health Organisation (WHO) stating that there is no vaccine yet and any new vaccine could take at least 18 months to be publicly available.
Over the past week, BOOM has received multiple claims that Israel and and a lab in San Diego, US have developed vaccines for COVID-19.
These claims can be broadly summarized into the following.
1. A lab in Israel has developed a vaccine against COVID-19.
2. A lab in San Diego developed a vaccine against COVID-19 in three hours.
BOOM will break down why both these claims are misleading in the course of this fact-check.
Developing a vaccine is a rigorous process which sometimes even requires to reduce the virulence of the live virus to make it less potent.
CLAIM: Israel has developed a vaccine
FACT: Israel's MIGAL Research Institute said in a press release in February 2020 that it was still working to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
The image of a vial labelled "coronavirus vaccine" in the misleading Facebook posts has been taken from a stock photo website.
Israel's MIGAL Research Institute has developed a vaccine for avian coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV). This vaccine is for chickens and not humans.
MIGAL has found that the poultry coronavirus has high genetic similarity to the human COVID-19, and that it uses the same infection mechanism, thus increasing the possibility of developing an effective human vaccine in a very short period of time.
MIGAL states that they are working on developing the vaccine in three weeks which can be clinically trialed and would further take about three months and longer to undergo other processes and human trials along with accreditations and acceptances by the various International organizations to be made available globally. The vaccine is thus still underway and is in the preliminary stages of development.CLAIM: A San Diego lab has developed a vaccine
FACT: A lab in San Diego designed an algorithm in three hours after the strain was made available by the Chinese scientists.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, which is located in Sorrento Valley, has previously created a vaccine for the Zika virus, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and the vaccine for Ebola.
"We have an algorithm which we designed, and we put the DNA sequence into our algorithm and came up with the vaccine in that short amount of time," said Dr. Trevors Smith, director of the Pharmaceuticals as reported by CBS8 News, a San Diego based news agency.
The algorithm is the design of the vaccine but not the actual developed vaccine. Vaccine development needs immense trials and approvals. The vaccine has been tested on mice and guinea pigs. It will next be tried on a group of human patients but has not yet received FDA approval for testing on humans yet.
The human trials follow rigorous steps and once cleared will only be permitted to be used once they are effective.
Research is undergoing but these vaccines are not near completion any time soon.
The World Health Organization has stated that there is no directly treatment for COVID-19 currently. People are recovering due to their uncompromised immunities. Countries have been trying various medicines for cases to recuperate.
The Indian Council of Medical Research permitted the Rajasthan government to use a combination of anti HIV drugs on an Italian couple admitted there after the decision was taken by SMS Hospital. They were given this combination of drugs because they were suffering from respiratory issues. The couple tested negative for the virus on March 16, 2020.
"The decision to administer lopinavir and ritonavir combination initially was taken locally as they thought it was a severe disease and started the medicine. But we should not draw more conclusions from the same because single patient experiments do not reveal the truth more often. We need to have a structured study," Raman R Gangakhedkar, the head of the Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases-I at ICMR, said to news wire agency PTI.
(Updated on March 16, 2020)
Do you always want to share the authentic news with your friends?