A Covid-19 vaccine “within 6 months”

Countries around the world are battling to be first out with a sustainable, reliable and cheap vaccine for Covid-19. If they are successful it will be the first time a successful vaccine has been developed for a coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause sickness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). And Covid-19, aka SARS-CoV-2. Here’s the list…

  1. 229E (alpha coronavirus)
  2. NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
  3. OC43 (beta coronavirus)
  4. HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
  5. MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS)
  6. SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS)
  7. SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19)

If there is a breakthrough it will be the first time a vaccine has been developed for a coronavirus.

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Now Thailand’s Public Health Ministry has declared that many of the countries, developing and testing a Covid-19 vaccine, will be able to deliver one in 6 months time. Dr Thanarak Plipat, deputy director general from the Department of Disease Control, says that more than 180 vaccines were under clinical trial in different countries. 38 are already being trialled on humans.

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He says that in the first phase, a vaccine is tested on no more than 100 volunteers. In the second phase it is tested on volunteers of both sexes, different ages and races to see if the vaccine is widely effective. In the third phase the vaccine and a placebo is used on a large group of people to see if the vaccine really works.

“Of the 38 vaccines being tried on humans, 18 are in the first phase of testing, 12 vaccines are in the second phase, seven in the third phase, and one is being used on the Chinese army even though it has not yet undergone the third phase of testing.”

“Hence, we expect a Covid-19 vaccine to be ready in the next 6 months.”

“The ministry has been supporting research and plans to procure as many vaccines as possible.”

“While we are waiting for a vaccine, we have to prepare our personnel, organisations, and communities to deal with a second wave of infections that may emerge anytime. But most importantly, people must not panic if there is a second Covid-19 wave.”

Most countries say they will provide the vaccine to their health and emergency workers first before distribution begins on the wider populations. The roll out to the broader world community will likely be hampered by more misinformation campaigns from activists like anti-vaxxers who wage ongoing conspiracy wars about the alleged affects of various vaccines on humans.

With much of the world locked up within the borders of their own country, and risk-aversion to opening borders becoming more common, future travel will likely rely on people who have Covid-19 antibodies (meaning they’ve been exposed to the virus), or have been vaccinated.

Meanwhile, a study, published in Science, reports that some immune cells capable of recognising coronaviruses that cause the common cold might respond to SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19.

The team, based at La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California, analysed immune cells called “memory T cells” and found that they recognise particular parts of several SARS-CoV-2 proteins. They then identified similar sequences in coronaviruses responsible for the common cold and showed that these sequences could activate the T cells that also respond to SARS-CoV-2.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand | Science

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