The experimental Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford produces immune response in both younger and older adults, the British and Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said. Meanwhile, India’s own indigenously produced vaccine ‘Covaxin’ is set to begin its final stage of human trials and Moderna’s vaccine has already entered phase III trials.
The world has been at war; fighting against the Covid-19 virus since it started spreading like wildfire all across the globe starting from Wuhan, China. As of now, over a million people have died due to the virus. The pandemic has had serious consequences on countries around the world, leading to economic recessions, and several other complications. The world is desperately waiting for a solution to this problem. One of the solutions is a working vaccine.
The latest developments give us some hope of returning to a normal reality. The vaccine called ‘AZD1222’ is being developed by the University of Oxford with the help of AstraZeneca. The pharmaceutical company said that the vaccine has showed positive results, producing similar immunogenicity responses in both younger and older adults, while producing lower reactogenicity responses in older adults. In other words, the immune response which produces antibodies is similar in younger and older people while older people have lesser unwanted reactions to the vaccine.
Another Covid-19 vaccine called ‘Covaxin’ is being developed in India by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The vaccine has passed the stage II trials and is set to start the final stage, which is stage III human trials. The trials are planned to be conducted in private hospitals, and Bhubaneswar’s IMS and SUM Hospital is one of the 21 medical institutes selected across the country by ICMR. Bharat Biotech plans to launch their vaccine by June 2021.
Big pharma companies are racing to produce the vaccine as quickly as possible while also making sure that it is safe for human use. Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be one of the first to receive regulatory approval along with Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine candidates. But the British Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said that he is expecting a possible roll-out in the first half of 2021. There are currently 11 vaccines in Phase III trials, focusing on the large scale efficacy of the vaccine, and 6 which are approved for early or limited use.
What makes this coronavirus deadly is not the fact that there is no cure for it at the moment, rather, it is its ability to infect people so easily. Most people with a strong immune system will recover relatively easily, but those in the high-risk group, such as people who are immunocompromised and the elderly are at a higher risk of dying from the virus. Due to the highly infectious nature of the virus, it will easily reach those under risk if the people surrounding them are not being careful. Maintaining strict social distancing and following health and safety guidelines is our only hope until a vaccine is ready. Though, a recent study has found that Nitric Oxide is effective against Covid-19, which could potentially serve as a treatment for the virus until a working vaccine arrives.