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The Vaccine Hunt

Mohammad Shahzad
Muhammad Atif Khan

Fear of being infected with COVID 19 (Corona Virus) has reached  its extreme. People are concerned if the World fails to find any Cure then what will happen? , how will life go on with this pandemonium? , if World has the potential to manufacture vaccine then How long it will take? , These are general questions arising in every mind and each question is directed towards Corona Vaccine.

Developing a vaccine is not a child’s play while more than two dozen companies are working on it. It is not just about developing a vaccine but also meeting the global need after the development. Governments, Universities and Pharmaceutical companies are craving of getting pride and benefit along with finding the cure of Corona virus at the same time, therefore they have accelerated their efforts following their respective stratagem in the research of developing a vaccine against Corona Virus.                                                       Before going into depth Let’s have a look at history (of likewise Events), In 1984, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret Heckler that a preventative vaccine against HIV would be ready for testing in the next two years. The world is still waiting for an HIV vaccine after millions of deaths and instead of hoping people started to believe that HIV is an incurable disease. Likewise, there are other diseases as well which are incurable.

Keeping in mind the above-mentioned example should we believe in claims made by politicians, doctors and scientists? , Certainly not. But we can also not live in despair and without hope.

Before believing in any speculation, let’s look at the progress made by Pharmaceutical Companies in Manufacturing COVID Vaccine.           

Pfizer along with its German partner BioNTech (Pharmaceutical Companies) claimed to have started clinical trials. Instead of weakening virus strains, they have used a unique and new technique to develop the vaccine. This vaccine attempts to reprogram the virus’ RNA rather than manipulating the live virus itself. The Vaccine caries the Genetic Code known as messenger RNA which instructs body cells to make the protein associated with COVID 19 but without making someone sick. The hope is that the Immune system in response will start producing antibodies to fight off COVID 19 as soon as it detects viral proteins. Four candidates have experienced the vaccine trials by Pfizer under the supervision of Dr Mark Mulligan, an infectious disease specialist at N.Y.U. Because it’s natural it is believed to be safe as the body produces mRNA itself. 

                                                         ”Vaccines are given to healthy people to keep them healthy, so they will be safe, very safe” said Dr Mark Mulligan.                                                                           

Expert says that vaccine will be available as soon as September and it is the fastest way of manufacturing vaccine to stem the disease. But they also emphasized that it will be too early to predict anything as it’s still experimental.

” I am optimistic but the data will speak itself and this is the nice thing about science, you don’t have to have faith or believe whereas the answers will come from the investigation we do ” said Dr Mark Mulligan in an interview on NBC news.

Moderna, Inovio and CanSino are also involved in similar research method and using the same technique to manufacture a COVID vaccine, but no vaccine made with this technique has ever been found in the global market.

China’s CanSino Biologics recently disclosed that the company was advancing its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to a Phase II clinical trial making this vaccine candidate lead contender in the global race for an approved vaccine product. The National Institute of Health (NIH Pakistan) in collaboration with China has determined to conduct clinical trials of inactivated novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines in Pakistan.

We will be part of the clinical trial with China,” said Executive Director NIH Maj Gen Aamer Ikram to The Nation (Courtesy The Nation).

The world is hoping to have Corona Vaccine ready to use in the next 4 months but they are not confident enough as Dr Mark Mulligan reiterated it will be too early to say anything as it still depends on experimental investigation.                   

“Blood of recovered patients of COVID-19 could be used to create antibodies to fight off the virus. These antibodies in the blood of a recovered patient can speed up the immunity of the newly infected people,” said Dr Tahir Shamsi, the head of National Institute of Blood Diseases, Karachi.

                       We can use passive immunisation (explained above) to treat patients but the situation would be worst if numbers keep dividing exponentially because it requires time to use this method. The Vaccine is inevitable to stop the spread of deadly contagions. Until the vaccine is developed, we must keep the numbers in control.               

                       Moderano ( US Biotech Company ) has already completed Phase 1 of human trials and sought approval of Food and Drug administration to proceed to the next phase of Human trial which will require 600 people.    

“The coming Phase 2 study start is a crucial step forward,” Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive, said in a statement. If Moderano succeeds in Phase 2 then the studies (of Data manoeuvrings) of Phase 3 will determine how efficient the vaccine will be.         

               As we know many pharmaceutical and biotech companies claimed to have the vaccine but not an approved one and they are still conducting human trials, therefore, we can expect a vaccine shortly but we are not sure. Marcus Tullius cicero Said once ”While there’s life, there’s hope”. We should not make our blood run cold despite the difficulties as Vaccines have almost been developed and are in the testing phase. We can hope for the best but we should prepare ourselves for the worst as well. 

Nobody knows when shall we get rid of this crippling disease but we all know that no pandemic lasts forever.

Written By Mohammad Shahzad and Muhammad Atif Khan

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