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CORONA'S VACCINE AND MEDICINE PUZZLE
7/5/2020 11:43:36 PM

Mahadeep Singh Jamwal

The corona virus has affected 213 countries and territories and 2 international conveyances around the world. The world is going through some unprecedented times as the normal has been upended by the arrival of the deadly corona virus pandemic. People across the world are battling Covid-19 with more 1, 09, 84,798 positive cases across the globe while more than 5, 24,039 people have lost their lives as on date. Apart from this horrific data, 61, 420, 758 stand recovered from the clutches of the Corona virus (Indian update as per Aarogya Setu: Positive cases 623789, Deaths18268 and Recovered 371741). This carries us to believe and hope that we can recover from the corona virus disease (COVID-19) and catching the corona virus does not mean that we will have it for life. Most of the people who catch COVID-19 can recover and eliminate the virus from the bodies. Basically, dealing with Covid-19 is going to be a long, hard, task. Physical distancing, using mask and hard immunity are world over suggested keys to controlling Covid-19. These stringent and effective measures coupled with rigorous testing, tracing and isolation can reduce transmission but do not just end Covid-19 outbreaks.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge. At present everyone is anxious and curious to remain updated with authenticated information about any corona vaccine/drug. There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a novel corona virus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment based on the patient's clinical condition. A definite treatment for corona virus is nowhere in sight. On corona drug front, ever over enthusiastic Ramkrishna Yadav (After sanyasi diksha adopted the name Swami Ramdev) on 23 June in a press conference in Haridwar has unveiled “Coronil” as corona medicine claiming that 69% patients recovered in 3 days and 100% patients recovered in 7 days. After denial from Uttarakhand Ayurveda Department for issuance of any licence to Patanjli for manufacturing corona medicine and registration of FIR against Yoga guru Ramdev and others for claiming to develop a cure for the corona virus, Balkrishna CEO of Patanjli, taking a U-turn denied any such claims by Ramdev for any corona medicine. GoI too has declared it as just a “Corona Management’ nothing more than that. No pharmaceutical products have yet been shown to be safe and effective for the treatment of COVID-19. However, a number of medicines have been suggested as potential investigational therapies, many of which are now being or will soon be studied in clinical trials, including the solidarity trial co-sponsored by WHO and participating countries. While a definite treatment for corona virus is nowhere in sight, drugs like Dexamethasone and Remdesivir are being used on critical patients. Scientists have also approved use of childhood vaccines like MMR to prevent severe lung inflammation associated with corona virus.
While distancing, using mask, testing, tracing and isolation might be the gold standards, the more common reality will likely be that infection is beaten back to relatively low levels, but persists there for months, with occasional new surges until, hopefully, a vaccine is found. When a disease is new, there is no vaccine until one is developed. It can take a number of years for a new vaccine to be developed. There is a mad race among pharmaceutical companies and scientists to come up with a vaccine as soon as possible. On this front, when we scroll on search engines, we are encountered with the information that there currently are over 100 vaccines at various stages of development worldwide, including in India, Britain, China, the US, Russia and Israel. UK-based AstraZeneca was leading the vaccine race. The chief scientist at WHO, has claimed that nearly 2 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine would be ready by the end of next year. Bharat Biotech’s Covid vaccine candidate Covaxin is set to undergo human clinical trials in July. It was developed at the firm’s Genome Valley plant in Hyderabad, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The Drug Controller General of India, who heads CDSCO, has given approvals to begin testing its vaccines on humans through phase I and II clinical trials. This brings India a step closer to finalizing a domestically developed Covid-19 vaccine for its population–a positive sign at a time when the country’s cases continue to surge. China's military has received the green light to use a Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by its research unit and CanSino Biologics after clinical trials proved it was safe and showed some efficacy. The Ad5-nCoV is one of China's eight vaccine candidates approved for human trials at home and abroad for the respiratory disease caused by the new corona virus. The shot also won approval for human testing in Canada. The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc.’s experimental vaccine is the first to enter the final stages of clinical trials to assess how well it works in protecting people from becoming infected by the virus that causes the corona virus disease (Covid-19). Glenmark Pharmaceutical’s oral antiviral drug favipiravir which is used to treat patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 infection will now be available in the Indian market under the brand name FabiFlu. Hyderabad-based Hetero Lab’s version of remdesivir antiviral drug for treating corona virus patients will be marketed under the brand name 'Covifor' in India. Cipla Ltd announced the launch of its generic version of remdesivir, which has been authorized for emergency use in treatment of Covid-19 patients by the USFDA, under its brand name Cipremi. Moscow-based Gamaleya research institute have developed liquid and powder for injections and are on clinical trial as of corona virus vaccine. SARS-CoV-2 vaccine developed at the Israel Institute for Biological Research provides protection against SARS-CoV-2 proved effective against Covid-19 in Syrian golden hamsters, according to a paper. Some researchers and doctors have started using the technique called “passive antibody therapy” where plasma from people recovering from COVID-19 transfused to treat others who have contracted the disease. Concluding I will say that hope is a renewable option. If we run out of it at the end of the day, we get to start over in the morning. Hope can always help pull people out of the most difficult of times. We must look forward.
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