COVID-19 Vs Vaccines: Contest Of The Millennium?

Photo: bbc.com

The decisive (or is it?) war against the COVID-19 pandemic has broken out with vaccines arriving on the scene to combat the deadly virus about which humankind knew nothing as late as January-February 2020. United Kingdom as we mentioned in an earlier post became the first country to officially approve a vaccine with Bahrain joining in too as per latest news reports. The regulatory authority of UK approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use authorization last week, and vaccination is to start in the country from Tuesday, the 8th of December 2020. Meanwhile Russia has already started mass vaccination from today with the first registered vaccine of the world, Sputnik V. The US FDA is set to give approval anytime now to Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. All of these three vaccines have shown efficacy of over 90% for all age groups.

 

Amid the spree of advance booking by various countries worldwide Pfizer-BioNTech has applied to the Indian regulator DCGI (Drugs Controller General of India) for emergency use authorization in India, the country with the teeming millions. However, it is not clear as to how the US Pharma giant is going to transport the vaccine given its very rigid requirement of -70 C cold storage, and how India is going to have the required cold storage infrastructure ready. Just two days earlier Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, had announced that vaccination would start in the country within a few weeks. Again, it was not specified which of the three vaccines would be ready, and exactly in how many weeks. Perhaps Covishield, the Indian counterpart of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine is the next in line, with the final phase trials still going on for the indigenous Covaxin and the Russian Sputnik V.

 

Whatever be the exact scenario emerging the important fact in the global fight against SARS-CoV-2 or the novel Coronavirus or the COVID-19, is that the vaccines have arrived in an incredibly limited time period, and vaccination has started or is about to start in many countries of the world. If the vaccines work as per the claims of efficacy the days of the killer virus is numbered, to the immense relief of billions of citizens on Planet Earth. Doubts about the efficacy claims or about how long antibodies would remain in the vaccinated would linger on and would stay for a long time to come. In the meantime, more and more vaccines are going to join in the fight. We can reasonably hope for at least one vaccine that would pass the test in the long run and finally conquer the virus taking into account its possible mutations as its counters to the efforts of a united humankind.

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