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The novel coronavirus pandemic has claimed over 2 lakh 50 thousand lives around the world. More than 37 lakh people have tested positive for covid-19. In India alone, covid-19 has killed more than 1,600 people and has infected nearly 50,000 people.
There is no treatment to cure for covid-19, which makes this infectious disease so scary. But ever since the pandemic first hit made waves, scientists have been working hard to develop a vaccine for covid-19.
How far is the first vaccine from being available?
Italy claims that it has successfully developed the world’s first coronavirus vaccine. According to news sources, Italy has carried out tests at Rome’s infectious-disease Spallanzani Hospital. The vaccine apprentelly has antibodies generated in mice that work on human cells, the report said.
Italian scientists have developed antibodies that block covid-19 from infecting human cells. The human tests of the vaccine are expected after summer, the report quoted Luigi Aurisicchio, CEO of Takis, the firm developing the medication as saying.
How many vaccines are being developed around the world?
A number of companies in the United States are also working round the clock to develop a covid-19 vaccine. American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. along with German biotech company BioNTech has begun human trials. Pfizer has recently said that it has administered the first US coronavirus patients with the experimental vaccine.
The vaccine uses a gene-based technology known as messenger RNA, from Pfizer and BioNTech. The first person was vaccinated on Monday. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said that an antibody treatment for COVID-19 could be available by this autumn.
Israel has on May 5 said that it has found an antidote to the COVID-19 that attacks the virus and neutralizes it in a monoclonal way in the infected patients.
As per a report by PTI, the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) has carried out a few clinical trials, and researchers have identified the protein that is efficient in killing COVID-19 in infected patients.
In March, the US began the first human trial of a coronavirus vaccine called mRNA-1273. The vaccine was developed by scientists from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and collaborators at biotechnology company Moderna, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
However, the vaccine may take a little over a year’s time to become available after it has passed more trial phases to prove its efficacy.
Last month, Britain also began the first human trial of COVID-19 vaccine. Developed in under three months by a team at Oxford University, the vaccine was injected to two volunteers.
The Oxford scientists say the first few million doses of the vaccine could be available by September if it proves to be effective.
How far or close is India in this race?
In India too, over 30 covid-19 vaccines are in different stages of development and a few are entering trial stages.
According to a report by PTI, executive director of Translational Health Science and Technology, Faridabad, Gagandeep Kang said that six Indian companies are working on COVID-19 vaccines. Zydus Cadila is working on two vaccines, while Serum Institute, Bilogical E, Bharat Biotech, Indian Immunologicals, and Mynvax are developing one vaccine each.
In an interview to the New Indian Express, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Pune-based Serum Institue of India said that the company is working on a vaccine for COVID-19 in partnership with Oxford University.
Poonawalla said that the first batch of up 20-40 million doses is expected to be ready by September or October this year.
If human trials are successful, then the world could indeed see the first vaccine before the year ends. But how soon will that vaccine be made available to hospitals for the masses all over the world, that only time will tell.