Covid19 Vaccine- A race for life

Written By: Hana Iqbal

Overcrowded hospitals, overworked doctors and nurses, crippling economy, stock market crashes, quarantines and isolations, unemployment, human rights issues, protests, and; one solution- The Vaccine.

It’s a vaccine that’s most likely to bring an end to the pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, scientists from all over the world have been on edge; as they are busy researching for the vaccine[1]; waiting for a breakthrough.. Over 135 vaccines are undergoing development at a pace we have never seen before. 

What exactly do we want from this vaccine and What is our ‘goal’?

It is to generate an immune response with fewer (adverse) side-effects.

The world’s first Phase III trials of an inactivated vaccine for COVID-19 are being held in the United Arab Emirates. ‘A shot for humanity’ is taken by the  volunteers. UAE was chosen due to its diverse population. With over 107 nationalities taking part in the program, UAE had reached the 15,000 target volunteers in less than a month.[1]

CoronaVac (China), mRNA-1273(US), Ad5-nCoV(China) and Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) live-attenuated vaccine are among other candidates in Phase III.

US-based Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech announced positive results for the Phase 1 trial of their second Covid-19 vaccine candidate, revealing that the latest vaccine candidate has fewer side effects than their first. 332 people who received either vaccine, referred to as vaccines B1 or B2 – and indeed, B2 recipients experienced markedly fewer adverse events tied to the vaccine.[2]

Both vaccines use mRNA – the genetic messenger that our body uses to make the DNA code into proteins – packaged inside a fatty capsule, called a lipid nanoparticle, that allows it to get into cells. The mRNA instructs cells to make a protein, which then triggers the immune system into action.[2]  It is expected to come in early  October.

Meanwhile, phase III clinical trials for a Russian coronavirus vaccine are due to run in the Philippines from October to March 2021. Saudi Arabia too announced plans to conduct a clinical trial of another China-developed vaccine on at least 5,000 volunteers. The vaccine has produced an immune response in earlier trials in China. [3] Most experts think a vaccine is likely to become widely available by mid-2021[4]

Meanwhile, let’s stick to washing hands, sanitizing, wearing masks and gloves, and staying at home as much as is possible from our side!

Resources:

  1. Helga Jensen-Forde | Reach by Gulf News. “A Shot for Humanity: UAE’s Vaccine Trial for Covid-19.” Health – Gulf News, Gulf News, 16 Aug. 2020, gulfnews.com/uae/health/a-shot-for-humanity-uaes-vaccine-trial-for-covid-19-1.1597321901252.https://gulfnews.com/uae/health/a-shot-for-humanity-uaes-vaccine-trial-for-covid-19-1.1597321901252
  2. Ians. “Covid-19: Pfizer-BioNTech Second Coronavirus Vaccine Shows Less Side Effects.” Khaleej Times, Khaleej Times, 21 Aug. 2020, www.khaleejtimes.com/coronavirus-pandemic/covid-19-pfizer-biontech-second-coronavirus-vaccine-shows-less-side-effects.https://www.khaleejtimes.com/coronavirus-pandemic/covid-19-pfizer-biontech-second-coronavirus-vaccine-shows-less-side-effects
  3. “UAE’s Phase III COVID-19 Inactivated Vaccine Trial Achieves Milestone of 15,000 Vaccinated Volunteers from 107 Nationalities.” Wam, www.wam.ae/en/details/1395302862000.    https://www.wam.ae/en/details/1395302862000
  4.  Gallagher, James. “Coronavirus Vaccine: When Will We Have One?” BBC News, BBC, 21 July 2020, www.bbc.com/news/health-51665497.

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51665497

Hana Iqbal
Hana Iqbal

Born and raised in UAE, Hana Iqbal is a 3rd year medical student with love for writing, research and everything that has to do with making a positive impact. With her work, she hopes to motivate and help people to live life to their fullest. One quote she lives by is “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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