The World Health Organization (WHO) recorded over 150,000 cases of coronavirus in a single day on June 22. With this, the total number of coronavirus cases globally crossed the 9-million mark. Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the chief scientist at WHO, said nearly 2 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine would be ready by the end of next year. However, many scientists still predict that a safe and effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, could take 12-18 months to develop. Last month, global pharmaceutical major Pfizer said it believed a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 could be ready by the end of October.
There are currently over 100 vaccines at various stages of trials.
Coronavirus treatment: Here are updates on coronavirus vaccine/drug development:
1/ Patanjali’s Ayurvedic treatment for coronavirus
Patanjali will launch the ayurvedic medicine for treating Covid-19 today at Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar.
“Proud launch of first and foremost evidence-based ayurvedic medicine for #corona contagion, #SWASARI_VATI, #CORONIL, is scheduled for tomorrow at 12 noon from #Patanjali Yogpeeth Haridwar,” Acharya Balkrishna, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Patanjali, tweeted on Monday.
Balkrishna had earlier this month claimed that an Ayurvedic medicine developed by the company has been able to cure COVID-19 patients within 5-14 days.
2. Coronavrius vaccine: Get MMR shot to protect against severe coronavirus
Administering the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine could serve as a preventive measure to dampen septic inflammation associated with the virus infection, say researchers.
Vaccination with MMR in immune-competent individuals has no contraindications and may be especially effective for health care workers who can easily be exposed to Covid-19, said experts in a paper published in mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
“A clinical trial with MMR in high-risk populations may provide a low-risk-high-reward preventive measure in saving lives during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr Paul Fidel, Associate Dean for Research at Louisiana State University Health School of Dentistry.
“I don’t think it’s going to hurt anybody to have an MMR vaccine that would protect against the measles, mumps, and rubella with this potential added benefit of helping against Covid-19,” Fidel added.
3. GSK’s quest: Being the best, not first, in race for coronavirus vaccine
There has been a notable name missing from the frontrunners in the race to test experimental immunisation against the novel coronavirus: the world’s largest vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKline. GSK, which is in seven collaborations with institutions or firms globally, only entered the clinical trial stage with one project on Friday
British group’s chief medical officer for vaccines Thomas Breuer said,”We want to be best in class, and if others are a little faster I will congratulate them because they can take care of maybe the healthcare workers in selected countries, but the world needs billions of doses and we will contribute to this effort,” Breuer told Reuters.
4. Coronavirus treatment: Covid-19 drug remdesivir
Oral antiviral drug favipiravir, which is used to treat patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 infection, will now be available in the Indian market under the brand name FabiFlu at Rs 103 per tablet. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals secured the drug regulator’s nod on Friday to manufacture and market the drug in India.
The drug has shown promise in multiple global studies, with reduction in viral load, faster fever resolution, and faster clinical recovery.
In India, the drug will be sold at retail chemist outlets as well as hospitals.
Hyderabad-based Hetero Labs on Sunday said it had received regulatory approval to manufacture and market antiviral drug remdesivir for treating coronavirus patients.
Hetero’s generic version of remdesivir will be marketed under the brand name ‘Covifor’ in India, said the company after getting approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
Cipla Ltd announced the launch of its generic version of remdesivir, which has been authorised for emergency use in treatment of Covid-19 patients by the USFDA, under its brand name Cipremi.
5. Coronavirus vaccine: Chinese vaccine may not be ready for sale until at least 2021
A coronavirus vaccine candidate China is developing may not be ready for sale until at least 2021, as researchers struggle to move into large-scale human trials in the country because of a lack of new infections, a senior company executive said.
More than 10 experimental vaccines are being tested in humans globally as scientists race to protect against the novel coronavirus that has killed more than 450,000 people.
But none of them has yet passed late-stage phase 3 trials that require thousands of participants to determine a vaccine candidate’s effectiveness.
China, where the virus first originated last year, saw less than 10 new local cases reported daily on average in May, making it less favourable for a late-stage clinical trial.
“We hope we can launch more international cooperations and conduct a multiple-centre phase 3 clinical study to help bring the vaccine to the market,” China National Biotec Group’s (CNBG) vice president Zhang Yutao told state media China News Service.
6. Coronavirus vaccine: CSIR gets nod for phase III trials of antiviral drug Umifenovir
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-constituent lab CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) in Lucknow has received permission to carry out Phase III trial of antiviral drug Umifenovir.
Umifenovir is mainly used for treatment of influenza and is available in China and Russia, and has recently come into prominence due to its potential use for Covid19 patients.
7. Polio vaccine for Covid-19 testable’, say scientists
Indian scientists have responded cautiously to a suggestion by global researchers that the oral polio vaccine be tested for Covid-19, saying it is a testable idea based on a sound scientific concept but may offer only limited protection against the infection.
With a vaccine for Covid-19 at least a year away, scientists say repurposing already safe and effective vaccines is the way to go for immediate relief against Covid-19. The repurposed vaccines could includethe oral polio vaccine (OPV) and the Bacillus CalmetteGuerin (BCG)used against tuberculosis, both part of the immunisation given to Indian children.
It is worth conducting a clinical trial, said Ram Vishwakarma, director of the CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM) in Jammu.
8. Russia starts clinical trials of coronavirus vaccine
Clinical trials of a Russian coronavirus vaccine have started Wednesday, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Two forms of the vaccine developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya research institute liquid and powder for injections will be tested on two groups of volunteers, 38 people each, the statement said. The participants will be isolated in two Moscow hospitals.
The Gamaleya institute made headlines last month when its director, professor Alexander Gintsburg, made a statement that he and other researchers had tried the vaccine on themselves before the start of human studies.
9. CureVac’s experimental coronavirus vaccine
Unlisted biotech firm CureVac has become the second company after rival BioNTech to launch human trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine in Germany, eyeing potential regulatory approval in mid-2021.
10. Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine status
The AZD1222 vaccine, jointly developed by British pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University, is likely to provide protection against contracting Covid-19 for about a year, the company’s chief executive has told a news agency.
The British drugmaker has already begun human trials of the vaccine, with a phase I trial in Britain due to end soon and a phase III trial already begun, Pascal Soriot told broadcaster Bel RTL. “We think that it will protect for about a year,” Soriot said.
BioNTech, Novavax, Sinovac, CanSino Biologics and Inovio Pharmaceuticals are among those leading the fight against coornavirus.
How can a person contact coronavirus?
The health agencies have so far identified respiratory-droplet contact as the major mode of Covid-19 transmission. These large fluid droplets can transfer virus from one person to another if they land on the eyes, nose or mouth. But they tend to fall to the ground or on other surfaces pretty quickly. According to some researchers, the new coronavirus can also be transmitted through aerosols, or minuscule droplets that float in the air longer than large droplets. These aerosols can be directly inhaled.
Crowded events, poorly ventilated areas and places where people are talking loudly- or singing, in one famous case – maximize the risk of contracting Covid-19 disease, according to growing consensus about the central question.