The long awaited vaccine

Nearly a year or more since the Covid 19 made its appearance, scientists across the globe are working towards a vaccine that can help the world get back to normal.

More than a dozen vaccines are on the cusp. Reaching out to the 7.6 billion people will take over a year. The vaccine itself is expected (India) by April 2021. None of the vaccines have 100% effectiveness and they most they can show is 90% which according to  many experts is good enough.

Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine

It stops 70% of people developing Covid symptoms. The data also shows a strong immune response in older people.

There is data that suggests perfecting the dose could increase protection up to 90%. It is given in two doses

Trials with more than 20,000 volunteers are still continuing. This is easy to distribute, because it does not need to be stored at very cold temperatures.

Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine

It stops more than 90% of people developing Covid symptoms. It is given in two doses, three weeks apart

About 43,000 people have had the vaccine, with no safety concerns.  Requires storage at -70C.

Moderna vaccine

Moderna uses the same approach as the Pfizer vaccine. It protects 94.5% of people, the company says. It is given in two doses, four weeks apart. It is easier to store as it stays stable at -20C for half an year.

The Russian Sputnik V vaccine is 92% efficient but less widely accepted as WHO has not certified it.

Janssen’s Vaccine says two jabs give stronger and longer-lasting immunity than one

Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and Sinopharm in China, and Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute are also in final testing.

What needs to be done?

Safety of people to be vaccinated must be proved beyond doubt.
There must be approval by WHO and local governments
Researchers still need to find out how long any protection may last
Minimum if 60-70% of the global population must be immune to stop the virus spreading.
It must be free or easily affordable.

 ET reports that a vaccine for the coronavirus will likely be ready by early 2021 but rolling it out safely across India’s 1.3 billion people will be the country’s biggest challenge in fighting its surging epidemic, a leading vaccine scientist told Bloomberg. India, which is host to some of the front-runner vaccine clinical trials, currently has no local infrastructure in place to go beyond immunizing babies and pregnant women, said Gagandeep Kang, professor of microbiology at the Vellore-based Christian Medical College and a member of the WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety.

(Courtesy BBC and ET)

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