It is more than three months since the coronavirus, a deadly viral infection surfaced. The harm that it has caused cannot go unmentioned. The disease caught the world by a storm and has held most of the crucial sectors hostage, is slowly seizing to be a mystery as scientists have put their heads together in trying to demystify it. What looked like a dead-end is gradually turning into a promising journey with the hope of coronavirus vaccine being developed.
Amidst the fear and panic that came with the declaration of coronavirus global pandemic, all hope is not lost as research institutions are burning the midnight oil to try and devise a solution for the crisis. People are looking at the prospects of there being a coronavirus vaccine and probably a cure. How far have they gone? Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
10 facts about COVID 19 vaccine and cure
If you have been following the developments of the pandemic, you must have come across information about the research institutions that have been studying the behaviour of the virus. This is a critical step in developing a vaccine and probably a cure for COVID-19. How far is the research? Could it come early enough to combat the rapid spread of the disease? These facts might go a long way in deciphering the mystery.
1. The mRNA-1273 vaccine could be a possible vaccine
mRNA-1273 is a potential vaccine that has been developed by Moderna Inc. Moderna Inc. is a biotechnology company that is based in Cambridge, and it focuses on drug development and discovery basing on the messenger RNA.
Since 11th January 2020 when China shared the genetic sequence of COVID-19, Moderna Inc. embarked on disease research and on 13th January, the company's research process culminated in the development of mRNA-1273 as a potential response to the virus.
2. mRNA-1273 vaccine is not made from the coronavirus
Unlike most vaccines that are made from the weakened virus, the mRNA-1273 vaccine is not made from the virus that causes the infection. Instead, it has been developed from a copy of the virus' genetic segment that scientists made in a laboratory.
3. There is no chance of the participants of the human trial getting infected
According to the scientists that developed the mRNA-1273 vaccine, it is expected to prime the human immune system to fight the coronavirus. The shots of the vaccine do not contain the virus itself. Therefore, those participating in the human trial are not at any risk of being infected.
4. Animal tests have not been conducted on mRNA-1273
Because of the nature of the pandemic, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has authorised for fast-tracking of mRNA-1273 to clinical trials without going through animal tests. This move could help reduce the amount of time that it will take before the vaccine is introduced to the market if it passes the clinical trials.
5. Human trial of the vaccine is already being carried out
On 16th March 2020, the first shot of the vaccine was given to four out of 45 possible volunteers of the vaccine's clinical trial. The four volunteers received the first jab of the vaccine at Kaiser Permanente, a research facility in Seattle. The volunteers will each be given two jabs which will be administered 28 days apart, on the upper arm.
6. It might take more than 12 months for the potential vaccine to be available for the public
Even though the development of the mRNA-1273 vaccine could hint that there is a glimmer of hope regarding combating the virus, according to research, if the clinical tests give the desired results, it might still take up to 18 months for the vaccines to be available for use by the public.
7. HIV medication has a high potential of being coronavirus cure
Professor Paterson, a disease expert at the University of Queensland, stated that it would not be wrong to consider HIV medication like ritonavir or lopinavir as a potential cure for the deadly virus.
The professor went further to state that when the two types of HIV medication were administered to people who had tested positive for coronavirus in Australia, the virus 'disappeared.' As a result, he has suggested that a clinical trial should be carried out in 50 different hospitals in Australia to compare the efficacy of the two drugs individually versus their efficiency when they are combined.
8. Chloroquine is a potential coronavirus cure
Experts at the University of Queensland have considered chloroquine as a possible coronavirus cure. Chloroquine, for the longest time, has been used as an anti-malarial drug. The Australian researchers are still conducting more research on the drug's efficacy.
9. Other companies are developing coronavirus vaccine
Apart from Moderna Inc., other renown pharmaceutical companies have joined efforts in trying to develop a potential vaccine for the virus. These companies include:
Johnson & Johnson
On 11th February, Johnson & Johnson announced that it has partnered with BARDA to evaluate a possible vaccine that the company has developed. The company aims to conduct the first phase of clinical trials before the end of 2020.
GlaxoSmithKline is known for developing the HPV vaccine. The company is incorporating adjuvant technology in the pre-clinical testing of COVID-19 S-Trimer as a potential vaccine for coronavirus.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. developed INO-4800 as a potential vaccine. The company conducted pre-clinical tests on INO-4800 between 23rd January 2020 and 29th February 2020. Clinical trials of the vaccine are expected to commence in April 2020.
On 18th February 2020, Sanofi partnered with BARDA to examine a vaccine that could target severe acute respiratory syndrome resulting from COVID-19. The vaccine candidate will be on its phase of clinical trials by August 2020.
10. Companies are working towards developing a cure for COVID-19
Apart from the vaccines, other companies are developing a treatment for coronavirus. They include:
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. is a Japanese drug-making company that has joined the race of trying to develop a cure for COVID-19. The company looks forward to testing the viability of TAK-888 as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
Vir Biotechnology Inc.
Vir Biotechnology Inc. is collaborating with WuXi to conduct tests on the probability of monoclonal antibodies as a cure for COVID-19. The company is still conducting preclinical tests on the potential cure.
Gilead Sciences Inc.
Gilead Sciences Inc. is a renown drug-making company that takes credit for developing a cure for hepatitis-C. It is currently carrying out phase 3 clinical trials in Wuhan, China. Remdesivir, which is the drug that the company is conducting trials on, is a potential cure for COVID19.
If you still have some questions about something that can save people from the disease, here are the answers to some questions.
What is a vaccine?
A vaccine is a chemical substance that when taken into the body, stimulates the production of antibodies and provides immunity to fight diseases.
Is there a cure for the coronavirus?
According to the extensive research that is being carried out, there is no cure for the coronavirus as of date. However, researchers work on the efficacy of potential drugs.
These facts about coronavirus vaccine do not only shed some light on the matter but are also a glimmer of hope that there could be a solution to the ongoing pandemic.