Corona Virus Vaccine:- Some ray of hope during pandemic times.
But we need to start the preparations
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Amidst the farmers protest that is engulfing the nation there is a ray of hope. It seems that very soon we will be having the prized vaccine. However we must not waste the time once the vaccine is confirmed and the preparation and planning for the vaccination drive must start right now.
For example the government needs to drive a proper strategy how it’s going to queue up 1.3 billion people for the vaccination. Dr. Harshvardhan is a household name when it comes to the polio vaccination programme across the country. It is really fortunate that he is now the health minister of the country. Therefore his valuable experience and knowledge for the same will be useful. But then there is a difference. The polio vaccination was not for all. The corona virus is, and is for everyone irrespective of gender, age or any other factor.
Then there will be scientific factors. Where will the vaccine be stored ? What will be the right temperatures and what type of storage boxes will be required. The logistic question will be how the vaccine can reach the last mile and every nook and corner of the country. The task is gigantic and there has to be a proper plan as to how the process will be initiated across the states and country. For example will the government give preference to the sick and the elderely or the one who are afflicted with the virus itself the females and the children. Then which states will be given preferences ? Thus we see that as and when the vaccine comes the government has to prepare a roadmap to initiate the process.
We are writing this post for two reasons. First we see that the time has now come for the vaccine to come and second we want the government to not waste time and do her preparations for the vaccination drive now and keep the roadmap ready. Thus crucial time and hence lives can be saved as soon as the vaccine comes and the vaccination drive can be started immediately.
There are many organizations who are actively doing vaccine research. Serum Institute of India is collaborating with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which uses spike protein and vector is chimp adenovirus. Two cases of transverse myelitis have been reported (not in India) with this vaccine in phase 3 trials and can be one of the first to be launched.
The Bharat Biotech vaccine “Covaxin” is an inactivated vaccine (killed with reagent) and an adjuvant is used to increase antigenicity. Although safety will be higher, we do not know the efficacy.
Sputnik V vaccine is under phase 3 trial by Dr Reddy’s Lab; it has received emergency use authorization in Russia. It contains two vectors: Adenovirus 5 and Adenovirus 26.
The Zydus Cadila vaccine is a DNA-based vaccine delivered by a ‘skin patch’. Phase 2 trials have been completed. It is India’s answer to Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. It is easily manufactured and can mutation vaccine. Recently it was one of the place which PM Modi visited.
Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are nucleic acid based vaccines; with >90% efficacy; synthetic vaccine, so chances of side effects are less. Pfizer has asked for EUA in the US. If it is approved, it will be the first vaccine to be approved with a full-fledge phase 3 trial. The J&J vaccine is also a vector based vaccine.
It is still some time for the vaccine to be announced for public usage. Government must use this interim time to prepare the planning and strategy of the vaccination drive. Dr Harshvardhan who is the champion of polio vaccination can lead the campaign once again and initiate the process. There are many questions that will be required to answer related to logistics, technicalities, facilities besides of course how the process will be delivered.
Dr Asheesh Shah