COVID-19 Vaccine Development: Where The World Stands

The World Health Organisation and the US FDA has agreed to licence vaccines which prevent 50% confirmed disease

The New York Times coronavirus vaccine tracker states that there are at least 165 COVID-19 vaccines being developed, with 32 vaccines in human trials. And though not much is known about the efficacy of these vaccines, a positive outcome might be around the corner.

"Data from vaccine tests on monkeys shows that a successful vaccine might be around the corner in the next six to 12 months, said Dr Gagandeep Kang, about the vaccine race for COVID-19.

Dr Kang, a professor at Christian Medical College, Vellore detailed what a successful vaccine for COVID-19 will mean for the world in a discussion with Databaaz.

Successful Vaccine Is Just The Beginning

The World Health Organisation and the US FDA have agreed to licence vaccines which will prevent 50% of confirmed disease. But the development of a vaccine that works might just be the first step to ending the pandemic, said Dr Kang. The possibility of a perfect vaccine which works with one shot is very rare. Even when the vaccine has arrived, it might not work for everybody, especially people who have been immuno-compromised.

While these vaccines are tried mostly on young and healthy people, it has to be seen if the vaccine will work on the most affected of the lot, the elderly.

"The Oxford trial does include a small number of the elderly, while it will not be sufficient to give us efficacy data, we will get data on the immune response of the elderly from that trial," added Dr Kang.

COVID-19 Vaccine Development

Dr Kang says the reason that several COVID-19 vaccines are nearly ready to be deployed within seven months of the pandemic is because of how slow the development of the ebola vaccine was. "We had a vaccine that was sitting in the freezer, but it took us nine months to get all the paperwork in place to begin the evaluation of the vaccine. After that the world got together and said we weren't going to let that happen again," she added.

But the fact that a major part of the world's resources was being directed towards vaccine development and not other sectors of public health is challenging. "It almost seems like the world thinks that vaccines are going to be a panacea for everything. Once we have a vaccine. The problem is solved, but a lot more needs to be done," concluded Dr Kang.

Cure For COVID-19

The COVID-19 mortality rate is not a result of the disease itself but because of the disregulated immune system. According to Dr Kang, to find a cure for COVID-19, it is very important to understand the virus, and also understand the disease process in people who are severely ill.

The first part of COVID-19 cure that needs to be looked at is the development of an anti-viral, like Remdesivir—whether it should be used at earlier stages of the illness so that the patient doesn't slip into severe disease.


The other part of the cure is to look for pathways to control the severe stages of infection, like using the steroid dexamethasone. Dr Kang adds that it's important to look at different approaches to modulate mild and severe illness.

Highlights

-The World Health Organisation and the US FDA has agreed to licence vaccines which prevent 50% confirmed disease.
-While these vaccines are tried mostly on young and healthy people, it has to be seen if the vaccine will work on elderly and people who have been immunocompromised.
- The COVID-19 mortality rate is not a result of the disease itself but because of the disregulated immune system.

Catch the full interview on YouTube or click on the link here.

Updated On: 2020-08-21T15:59:53+05:30
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