Coronavirus vaccine: WHO gives a reality check

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Clinical trials of coronavirus vaccine got fast-track clearance from corporations and health experts. Though it instilled hope for the world to get rid of the novel virus, the World Health Organization gave a reality check yet again. In a virtual press conference, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “A number of vaccines are now in phase-III clinical trials, and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there is no silver bullet at the moment, and there might never be”.

Oxford vaccine to go ahead with human trials in India
The Oxford University vaccine for coronavirus in partnership with AstraZeneca is in phase-III human trials in some countries. India has been approved for carrying phase-II and phase-III trial of the Oxford University vaccine in India. Serum Institute of India will carry out the trials, and manufacture and supply the vaccine to poor and middle-income countries. The Serum Institute plans to test the vaccine on 1,600 volunteers at different locations within the country.

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Pharmaceutical companies have promised to deliver a successful vaccine for the novel coronavirus by early next year. However, WHO believes that we may not have a successful vaccine or its protection could be for just a few months. It has advised patience by saying that the late stage of clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccine does not mean that it is ‘nearly there’. WHO Executive Director Mike Ryan, during a virtual panel discussion, said, “Phase three doesn’t mean nearly there. Phase three means this is the first time this vaccine has been put into the general population, into otherwise healthy individuals to see if the vaccine will protect them against natural infection.”

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Russia plans to register its vaccine on 12th August
Russia has announced plans of its coronavirus vaccine being developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute by the second week of this month. It aims to begin mass production by the end of October. However, its superfast speed has led to scepticism. It was reported to have completed phase-I trials by July. According to Russia’s TASS news agency, phase-II trials began by July 13. However, Russia has indicated that it will approve the vaccine without undertaking phase-III human trials, the final stage in which a candidate vaccine is tested for its effectiveness in real-life situations, outside laboratory conditions.

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Coronavirus vaccine from Russia

“If there were anything official, then our colleagues in the European office would definitely look into this… In general terms, there are a set of guidelines and regulations, rules, how to deal with the safe development of a vaccine… These should be definitely followed in order to make sure that we know what the vaccine is working against, who it can help, and of course, also if it has any negative side effects,” the spokesperson of WHO said.
However, WHO gives a reality check on the race to the coronavirus vaccine saying, seeing an effective vaccine would be possible no sooner than next year. On Monday, it advised countries to take precautionary steps like wearing a mask, using sanitizers and social distancing.

Image Credits: Canva- https://www.canva.com/en_in/

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