With the total number of COVID-19 cases crossing the 13 million mark globally, and the death toll rising as we speak, the world curiously awaits a vaccine for the Coronavirus. The latest claims by Russia to complete clinical trials of a vaccine have gripped the world with hope and anticipation.
The claims are like a ray of sunshine but what we need to understand is that only the first phase of trials is complete yet. The journey between the completion of trials and the availability of the vaccine anticipation across the globe is not going to be a cakewalk.
Until now, just one candidate vaccine has reportedly reached the human clinical trial stage by Russia. It is being developed by Russia’s Gamalei National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology, in partnership with the Russian Defence Ministry. The phase-I human trials began on June 18, with 18 volunteers from the armed forces.
A report by the TASS news agency of Russia on July 10 said the phase-I clinical trials will end on July 15, while the phase-II will begin today, that is July 13. “An in-ward treatment of the first group of volunteers, who were tested for the safety and tolerability of the vaccine, will end on July 15,” the TASS agency quoted Russian Defence Ministry as saying. Elena Smolyarchuk, chief researcher for the Russian Center for Clinical Research on Medications at Sechenov University told TASS.
After being given the shot, the volunteers were asked to quarantine in the hospital for 28 days.
Australia also launched a human trial for its vaccine anticipation candidate on Monday at the University of Queensland (UQ).
The vaccine was reportedly developed and manufactured in partnership with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) advanced biologics production facility in Melbourne, technical assistance from Australian biotech company CSL, Brisbane-based biotech manufacturer Patheon and global biotech company Cytiva, UQ confirmed in a statement Monday.
Phase one of the Australian trial witnessed 120 volunteers, aged between 18 and 55, injected with the potential vaccine, while a proportion of participants receive a placebo, the UQ statement noted.
There are at least 21 vaccines currently under trial worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation. Every country and every lab is taking a different approach to finding the right solution to stop the virus from taking over the world at this point, Forbes reported.
India has also been aiming for the launch of a COVID-19 vaccine in August. Earlier in July, the director of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Balram Bhargava, ordered 12 hospitals to begin clinical trials of India’s coronavirus candidate vaccine, Covaxin, with the goal of having it ready for public use by August 15.
The Indian candidate vaccine, Covaxin, is being developed by Bharat Biotech, a Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company, in partnership with the National Institute of Virology, an ICMR laboratory
Since the announcement, there have been political rows and backlash against the haste in which Indian trials are moving. Many even suspected the potential vaccine to be lacking quality. Shunning all the speculation, ICMR came forward and said,”The ICMR’s process is exactly in accordance with globally accepted norms to fast-track vaccine development,” an ICMR statement said.
We can trust science and take necessary precautions to prevent the contraction and spread of COVID-19. Practicing hygiene and social distancing is the safest bet. With the help of immunity boosting foods and eating healthy, we can fight the monstrous virus. Also, we should keep our mental health in check; also reach out for professional help as it is not a taboo. Here’s where you can find some psychological help: https://thewonk.inmental-health-matters-organisations-that-care-to-listen/
Let us be hopeful and optimistic, because we all are in this together. This too, shall pass!