Emergency COVID-19 vaccine
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Emergency COVID-19 vaccine could be available by Early 2021

NK Ganguly, former Director-General, ICMR said, “It appears the emergency COVID-19 vaccine would be available earliest by January or February 2021, against the backdrop of leading vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech partnering with the Thomas Jefferson University of Philadelphia to develop a new COVID-19 vaccine candidate discovered at Jefferson”.

He added, “Most of the vaccine development program focuses on recognizing the genetic code of the spike protein, that Sars-CoV-2 uses to enter the human cells which have currently been identified in this case. This genetic code is used to trigger an immune response in the vaccinated individuals against subsequent exposure – in the development of the vaccine.

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The genetic material of the viruses is RNA and mRNA vaccines are synthetic completely. The manufacturing of a vaccine can be increased after recognizing the target antigen’s sequence, and this can also be used by other mRNA vaccines that contain different sequences.

He added, With the help of accelerated clearances from regulatory authorities, mRNA synthetic vaccine quick to develop. The normal vaccine development duration of 5 years could be decreased remarkably. On average, the time-frame of vaccine development, from lab to market takes around 5-10 years.

The mRNA vaccines represent a promising alternative to traditional vaccine methods as a result of their high effectiveness, capability for rapid development as well as the potential for the safe administration and inexpensive manufacture.

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Responding to a query on the testing capability of the country, Ganguly said India is unlike South Korea and China testing smart, against the backdrop of 1.3 billion population. The officials are examining for viruses in hotspots and clusters. In the context of the 1.3 billion population in the country, 1 Lakh tests per day are too less. At least 1 million tests per week should be carried out. Yet, we can not place all the money and sources in testing for the viruses, as a result, India’s smart screening methods are reasonable. Additionally, India does not have infrastructures like South Korea and China”.

Additionally Ganguly urged that the transmission of the virus is highest in hotspots and clusters, so through smart testing these areas must be targeted.

Author: Sruthi S