Coronavirus vaccine will take at least a year to make but that's not a reason to worry — as long as you stay away from 'WhatsApp university'
- Experts tell Business Insider that the
Coronavirus vaccinewill take at least a year to develop.
- The lack of a vaccine is not a reason to worry with treatment options available to patients who test positive for Covid-19.
- However, anyone who believes they have symptoms needs to consult a doctor before treating themselves based on information from WhatsApp.
“There are 20 candidate vaccines based on trials which have already started in the US. But then you’re going to have to go through Phase II, Phase III and Phase IV. So, realistically you’re not going to have a vaccine before the end of the year,” Anupam Sibal from Apollo Hospitals told Business Insider.
@BiIndia's @iyer_sriram in conversation with @docmranney, Dr Gautam Bhansali Consultant Physician, Bombay Hospital… https://t.co/ryCGN2vddi— Business Insider India (@BiIndia) 1585811844000
AdvertisementAccording to the World Health Organisation ( WHO) it takes as long as 18 months. However, that’s not a reason to worry. There are already a lot of options on the table for treatment. From the hyped chloroquine malaria pill to basic antibiotics to ward off the infection. As Sibal puts it, “There’s a lot going on.”
The need of the hour is for people to stop believing in possible cures that are circulating on WhatsApp and consult an actual doctor if they believe that they are experiencing any symptoms. Sibal points out that not every treatment works on every patient.
There are many variables that need to be taken into account, including the patient’s medical history, in order to give the right course of treatment.
“The vaccine will take some time but it will definitely be there. Treatment is there depending on the patient’s condition. I request people to not trust WhatsApp university and messages on social media,” said Gautam Bhansali, a consultant physician at Bombay Hospital.
Who’s working on a Coronavirus vaccine?
As of now, we do not have a vaccine for any of the viruses for the Coronaviridae family. During the SARS pandemic in 2008, many vaccines were tested on animal models but none were deemed safe for humans. Nonetheless, efforts at the University of Queensland are based on evidence from the past outbreak.
AdvertisementAs of April 2, there are around 50 vaccine candidates under developement, and a few initiated phase-1 trials of human testing — including CanSino Biological Inc and Beijing Institute of Biotechnology — according to data collected by the Milken Institute.
Other biotechnology companies like Moderna and Inovio Pharmaceuticals have funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
IBM’s supercomputer is also on the job using resources provided by Hewlett Packard (HP), Amazon, Microsoft and Google to try and speed up the hunt for a cure.
However, there’s still a possibility that none of vaccines prove safe or, even effective, on humans. A study of the success rate of clinical development between 2006 to 2015 found that moving from Phase I to a successful Phase III was around 11.5%.
Using what we already know to create a treatment
Doctors are now using existing viral treatments to treat Coronavirus patients. Chloroquine, which has proven as an effective method of treating malaria, has shown positive results in China during preliminary trials.
“We have a combination of anti-retrovirals that are being used. We also have another drug called
Remdesivir is front runner with studies showing that it could keep the infection from replicating itself once a patient tests positive. Using that information, Phase III trials are being conducted in the US, China and Italy.
WHO’s multi-country trial called ‘ Solidarity’ with participation from 10 countries is using a combination of these drugs to try and devise a treatment.
AdvertisementAnother method of treatment that has proven effective is passive antibody therapy. Plasma in the blood of patients who have recovered from the infection can be used to boost the immunity of patients who are currently infected.
The positive aspect in all of this is that medicine has come a long way. “In the olden days, it would take you years to even think about a candidate vaccine and now it was done in a few weeks,” said Sibal.
Currently, there are over 2,000 active cases in India with 156 patients who have recovered and 56 have died.
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