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Countries Leading In Race For COVID-19 Vaccine

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Countries Leading In Race For COVID-19 Vaccine Across Globe

Globally the race for COVID-19 vaccine is progressing at high speed. Scientists, experts and doctors are doing their best to bring out the vaccine as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Pfizer, Moderna, CoronaVac and Oxford COVID-19, are leading in the race as of now.

There are different phases for the trial that a candidate has to go through. Phase 1 testing is to ensure the safety of the vaccine, determine the dosage and identify the potential side effects, if any. Phase 2 trials are done in a larger group to ensure the safety and efficiency among them. The final stage, Phase 3, involves thousands of people being tested with the vaccine, to ensure the effectiveness of the same.

Here are the top 5 countries who are leading in the research of COVID-19 vaccine:

Countries leading in COVID-19 Vaccine trials

  • United States of America

The United States is leading in the trials of the vaccines, with Pfizer and Moderna at Phase 3 and have shown advanced progress.

On November 18, Pfizer-BioNTech stated that it has the most effective result rate of 95 per cent, which is much higher than the 60 per cent bar set by the US Food and Drug Administration. The vaccine has also surpassed the minimum number of infections that are required to end the rials.

On the other, hand, Moderna, a Cambridge, Massachusetts based biotech company announced on Monday that its vaccine is at 94.5 per cent rating, which is not far behind. Although, the trials have shown that there are a few drawbacks of the vaccine, alarming none.

Among the vaccinated group, zero severe cases of COVID-19 were reported for Moderna. Dr Howard Forman, a health policy expert at Yale University, told in a panel discussion that Moderna claimed to be 100 per cent effective and that if it could hold up across the population, normal life would soon come back.

Trials for Novavax is also under process, and soon the testing is to happen in India as well. Johnson & Johnson, which have entered the race late, picked up quite quickly with the vaccine development. However, after one of the candidates developed an illness, this was halted. Eli Lilly’s antibody shot, Regeneron, which is also used to treat Mr Donald Trump, is also in a combined trial phase of Phase 2 and 3.

  • United Kingdom

Vaccine trials from the UK were the first-ever that emerged. The Oxford vaccine, which faced setbacks previously, has now rejoined the race. The vaccines tested in other countries will be subjected to a review by the European Union, after which it could reach around the world at a faster pace.

  • China

China was the epicentre of the virus outbreak and also emerged with vaccine development programme soon. 7 vaccine trials are working alongside, of which two have been granted emergency use authorization, while others are at the final stage of tests and developments.

Latest report state that Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech could have the results of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine –CoronaVac– from late-stage clinical trials as soon as next month, an executive said on Friday. Its last stage trails is mostly being conducted in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey.

  • Russia

Russia was one among the first ones to register a COVID-19 vaccine in August. Trials for the release of another vaccine are under process. Despite facing criticism, it has emerged as one of the strongest players in the vaccine development race. Twenty countries, minimum have expressed interest to procure the vaccine from Russia.

  • India

Although India’s start a little late in the race, it has got a strategic position in the global vaccine hunt. Trials for Ayurvedic medicines are also in progress.

Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be available to in India around February 2021 says Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Pune based Serum Institute, India (SII). However, the vaccine will be first use among healthcare workers and older adults by and by April, it will be available to the general public. 

The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is said to be affordable, safe and stored at a temperature of 2-8 degrees Celsius, which is an ideal temperature for storing in the cold storages of India. Mr Poonawalla said the SII plans to make about ten crore doses per month from February.

Mr Poonawalla also said at Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS), 2020, that every Indian would get vaccinated probably by 2024. He stated that the delay of 2-3 years is mainly due to the need to budget, the vaccine, logistics, infrastructure along with the willingness of people to take the vaccine apart from the supply constraints. So these are the factors that lead up to being able to vaccinate 80-90 per cent of the population.

He said that the vaccine would be available around USD 5-6 per dose with an MRP of around Rs 1,000 for the two necessary doses, which is much cheaper to the vaccines which are available in the market. In his words, the efficacy of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine till now is proving to work very well even in older adults, which was a concern earlier.

“It has induced a good T-cell response, which is an indicator for your long-term immunity and antibody response but then again, time will only tell if these vaccines are going to protect you in the long term. Nobody can answer that for any of the vaccines today,” Mr Poonawalla said.

According to Mr Poonawalla efficacy and immunogenicity results from the Indian trials of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is positive. Still, it will have to wait for month-and-a-half for a consolidated report.

Mr Poonawalla emphasized that handle India as a priority first and manage Africa and then only will his company be addressing the demands of other countries. He said 30-40 crore doses of the Oxford vaccine would be available by the first quarter of 2021.

Apart from SII, Bharat Biotech also announced on Monday that it is going to conduct human phase-3 trials of the vaccine among 26,000 participants. The Hyderabad based company has been developing the vaccine, Covaxin, in collaboration with ICMR. The first doses of the vaccine were carried out on volunteers at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences on Monday and will be monitored over the next year. Covaxin has shown safety and has given effective data results during phase-1, and phase -2 said the company.

Moreover, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said in a summit that there is some talk going on between Pfizer and the Indian government but not much with Moderna.

However, the challenge as far as the Pfizer vaccine is concerned, is that it needs a cold chain of minus 70 degrees Celsius.

India is the second worst-hit country in the world, with almost 9 million cases. However, the numbers are gradually declining since October. President Vladimir Putin has said that agreements have been signed for the local production of the Russian vaccine in India and China.

Scientists are hoping to develop a vaccine in less than a year. With Pfizer having effective results, the US government has told that the production of the dosage will speed up and all free vaccine will be given to their citizens by the end of 2021. Vaccines are said to be available globally by the end of 2021 if the trials continue at this rate.

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Hypocrisy of Federalism: Reply on Oxygen Related Deaths

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Death and Oxygen COVID II News Aur Chai

On Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry reported to the Parliament that no deaths were recorded due to a lack of oxygen across the country during the second wave of the pandemic.

The officials and ministers in eight states also denied fatalities due to the lack of oxygen. Whereas reports indicate that approximately 320 patients may have died in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic due to oxygen shortage.

The report by the Union Health Ministry to the Parliament has triggered massive criticism across the country. It has also prompted some significant accusations against the Bhartiya Janata Party [BJP].

The denial of the officials and ministers of the eight states regarding the same has also triggered a major rebuttal from within their parties, accusing them of aiding the Centre in hiding oxygen-related deaths.

According to a volunteer-driven data collation effort, DataMeet, Media from across 20 states report that there were approximately 619 deaths recorded due to lack of oxygen. However, later the cause of deaths was disputed with other factors that attributed to the fatalities.

MAHARASHTRA 

The state health minister of Maharashtra, Rajesh Tope also sided with the Centre’s stand of no-oxygen-related deaths.

“As far as Maharashtra is concerned, we have never said that any death due to oxygen shortage,” he said to a local TV channel on Wednesday.

However, in April and May, the shortage of oxygen supply in the state had prompted the Chief Minister, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray, to request the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to inspect the proposal of pressing the Indian Air Force to arrange additional oxygen supplies for the state.

HARYANA 

A medical board in Hisar- a region in Haryana, had openly established oxygen shortage as a cause of deaths in the region.

Additionally, after an inquiry, 22 patients succumbed to Covid due to the lack of oxygen in Haryana.

MADHYA PRADESH 

According to the reports of DataMeet, figures indicated that approximately 68 deaths took place across the state of Madhya Pradesh due to lack of oxygen.

However, Vishwas Sarang, the medical education Minister, stated, “We received at least 10-12 complaints related to deaths due to oxygen supply disruption. Medical experts found the cause of death was other medical complications, not hypoxia,”

GOA 

In Goa, between May 10- May 14, approximately 83 patients succumbed to death.

But according to Dr Shivanand Bandekar, the Dean of Goa Medical College and Hospital stated, “We can’t put this as a direct answer. People who come to GMC, they are all referred because we are a tertiary (care) center where criticality is high and most of the patients die because of Covid pneumonia where oxygen is a part of the treatment. So we cannot directly say this (disruption in the oxygen supply) is the reason why they have died,”

However, during the hearing at Goa at the time of these deaths, the state government had admitted that “some of the casualties may have taken place” due to supply disruption.

Within the same hearing, the Bombay High Court had said, “We have long passed the stage of determining whether patients are suffering from the lack of oxygen or not. The material placed before us establishes that patients are indeed suffering and even in some cases succumbing for want of the supply of oxygen, in the State of Goa.”

Officials and ministers of several states like West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh took a similar stand while siding with the Centre on their “no deaths due to Oxygen shortage” statement.

Even though various reports and data reflect a significant number of deaths due to a shortage of oxygen supply within different states, the Center and the state officials have refused to acknowledge them and have denied that these fatalities are attributed to the lack of oxygen supply.

Health Activist Amulya Nidhi from Madhya Pradesh, claims that volunteer groups from across the country have clear case studies and data that report deaths of patients across various states due to a lack of oxygen supply. “If they are so sure about it, they should allow an independent team of experts to probe the matter,” he said.

 

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Why Are people Not Taking Covid Vaccine?

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COVID Vaccine II News Aur Chai

Since the beginning of the Pandemic in 2020, all people have wanted is to find a way back to normal. A way from virtual lives to real, social lives. Being trapped at home with limited movement has been fun for no one. And yet, when a solution is finally being offered, people are hesitant to embrace it. Vaccines are the solution to once and for all immunise us against this virus, but many people fail to embrace the cure. Even though the vaccination reduces risks in exposure to the mutating variants of the Novel Coronavirus, there are people reluctant to take the possibly life-saving shot.

A vaccine race began throughout the world to curb the spread of Covid, India being one of the leaders. Immunisation is proven to be the most successful means to prevent diseases. Still, there is always hesitance that follows with the process. Many reasons cause vaccine hesitancy, but three of the main reasons are inadequate knowledge and fear of side effects, the speed of vaccine development, and rumours and myths.

The biggest fear that prevents people from taking the vaccine is a fear of side effects caused by inadequate knowledge. Many of us might show reluctance in taking the vaccine, fearing the severity of side effects. This tends to happen because most people do not understand how a vaccine works and nudges our bodies to create antibodies in our system to immunise us to the virus.

Many people reason that the side effects make them sick when they have been in perfect health for so long. They believe that it is the vaccine that makes them sick. This cannot be further from the truth. The public needs to be made aware of the workings of the vaccine to promote the vaccination drive around the world.

The other cause for hesitancy is the speed at which the vaccines have been developed. Many people believe that simply because the development speed of Covid immunising shots was quicker as compared to past viruses, corners have been cut in the process. It is essential to know that this is not true as all the procedures have been followed during the development of vaccines. None of them have been permitted for distribution without clinical trials and the approval of the FDA.

The last reason is that of rumours and myths. The rural population, a key demographic in our country, is reluctant to take the vaccine due to a lack of information provided to them. The inadequacy makes them quick to believe in rumours and myths surrounding immunisation, consequently making them reluctant to participate in the process. Reports of death post the vaccine have fanned the rumour mills in rural areas regarding the fatality of the vaccine.

Hesitancy in vaccination can also be seen in another key demographic, women. The proof for this in India is the disparity in men’s vaccination ratios which are starkly contrasting. Rumours and myths surrounding vaccines have led the population to believe that taking the jab affects fertility in women. It is essential to know that vaccinations do not cause infertility in men or women. It is this kind of rumour-mongering that causes fear in people.

Misleading tweets by prominent figures also cause vaccine hesitancy. One prime example is senior advocate Prashant Bushan, whose tweets about the efficacy and safety of covid vaccines were tagged as “misleading” by Twitter.

Tweet by Prashant Bhushan

Misinformation being spread by prominent people is another cause of reluctance in people not taking the vaccine, which must be stopped to defeat the Pandemic.

Many people who have already suffered from Coronavirus also believe that they do not need the vaccine as they are already immune to the disease. This is a falsehood that needs to be cleared as a vaccine prolongs the effectiveness of the immunisation, keeping the person safe for a more extended period.

Vaccines are preventative medicines that allow us to acquire immunity against the virus, preparing our bodies to protect us in case of exposure to the disease. While vaccination may not provide complete safety, it reduces the severity of the infection and the chances of death.

With newer and stronger variants emerging as mutations of the Coronavirus, all of us must be fully vaccinated. It is the only way to ensure the safety of ourselves and those around us. It is also the only way to make a return slowly but surely to what we knew as “normal” and stop living life as we have known for the past one and a half years.

 

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ZyCov-D Proposed As World’s First DNA COVID Vaccine

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ZyCOV-D DNA Vaccine II News Aur ChaiI

With the Delta Variant setting its wave globally, ZyCoV-D, India’s first Plasmid DNA Covid-19 vaccine, is in the running for an Emergency Use Authorization from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). Vaccine maker Zydus Cadila, which already has anti-Covid treatments on the market, claims to have conducted the largest clinical trial in India so far at over 50 centres, with over 28,000 volunteers ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old.

According to the firm, with its 66.6 per cent effectiveness for RT-PCR positive patients in the interim study, ZyCov-D has already demonstrated solid immunogenicity, tolerance, and safety profile. It went on to say that no moderate instances of Covid-19 were seen in the vaccination arm after the third dose was administered, indicating a 100 per cent effectiveness for mild illness.

What is Zydus’ approach?

By mid-August, the business intended to be manufacturing 10 million doses each month, according to managing director Sharvil Patel. “We are currently only focusing our efforts on making sure we can make doses available for India,” Patel said in a virtual news conference. If the injection is approved, it will become the country’s sixth vaccination to be approved for use.

Patel added that data on immunogenicity for the adolescent children subgroup would be submitted in the next four to six weeks.

The pharmaceutical company has also provided data on a two-dose regimen for the injection.

What are DNA vaccines?

ZyCoV-D, if authorized, will be the world’s first DNA vaccine, according to Zydus, since it uses a piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s genetic code – DNA or RNA – to trigger an immune response against the virus’s spike protein.

How are DNA vaccines Different from mRNA vaccines?

In contrast to the viral vector vaccines or inactivated vaccines like Covishield and Covaxin, DNA and RNA vaccines trigger an immune response by using a portion of the virus’s genes.

The distinction between DNA and RNA vaccinations is that the latter is passed on to a different molecule known as messenger RNA. The DNA vaccination also uses a tiny electrical pulse to convey the message to the cell.

DNA and RNA vaccines are less expensive than standard protein vaccinations. They are praised for their efficacy and capacity to be produced more quickly. Because DNA and RNA vaccines rely on genetic code rather than a live virus or bacterium. They may theoretically be made more widely available.

According to research published in the medical journal Frontiers in Immunology in 2019, “preclinical andclinical trials have shown that mRNA vaccines provide a safe and long-lasting immune response inanimal models and humans.”

According to WHO, DNA vaccines have a variety of potential advantages over traditional methods, including activation of both B and T cell responses and improved vaccine durability.

Is ZyCov-D needle-free?

A needle-free injectable method is reported to be used to deliver ZyCoV-D. (NFIS). In most NFISs, a jet of fluid is accelerated to a high enough speed to penetrate the skin through a tiny diameter nozzle. The vaccination may have a greater acceptance rate among youngsters who are afraid of needles, according to Sharvil Patel, managing director of Cadila Healthcare.

The three doses of Zycov-D should be given on days 0, 28, and 56, according to Zydus Cadila. The firm is, however, working on a two-dose vaccination.

According to the company’s information, the vaccine candidate may be stored for a long time at two to eight degrees Celsius and for a brief time at 25 degrees Celsius.

What does the Government have to say about the indemnity of the Vaccine?

The Government is still deliberating whether vaccine makers should be indemnified, as Pfizer and Moderna have asked. While a final decision is still pending, key authorities have stated that there is agreement.

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