Early results of vaccine test inject hope - GulfToday

Early results of vaccine test inject hope


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Amid a torrent of negative and worrisome news related to COVID-19 pandemic globally, Moderna Inc’s claim that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, the first to be tested in the United States, has produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers injects hope and some relief.

The data comes from eight people who took part in a 45-subject safety trial that kicked off in March.

The economic devastation wreaked by lockdowns indoors is huge, with the world facing its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

The health crisis has affected everything from the global economy, to education, employment and travel.

More than half of humanity remains still under some form of lockdown or stay-at-home orders and the world has remained under tremendous stress for days together.

The need to develop as soon as possible a vaccine, produce it and deploy it to every single corner of the world should never be underestimated.

The Moderna vaccine is one of more than 100 under development intended to protect against the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 4.7 million people globally and killed over 317,000.

The interesting development is that overall, the study showed the vaccine was safe and all study participants produced antibodies against the virus.

It’s all too early and there are big chances that many glitches could occur between now and the time this vaccine is tested for efficacy in thousands of people, but the data does offer a glimmer of hope for a vaccine among the most advanced in development.

The US government in April placed a big bet on Moderna, backing its vaccine with $483 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

On another front, a Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the coronavirus pandemic to a halt.

A drug being tested by scientists at China’s prestigious Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the virus, according to researchers.

Sunney Xie, director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, informed AFP news agency that the drug has been successful at the animal testing stage.

When neutralising antibodies were injected into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500, which means this potential drug has (a) therapeutic effect.

The drug uses neutralising antibodies -- produced by the human immune system to prevent the virus infecting cells -- which Xie’s team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients.

A study on the team’s research, published on Sunday in the scientific journal     Cell, suggests that using the antibodies provides a potential “cure” for the disease and shortens recovery time.

Many other companies are also testing their drugs, fast-tracking vaccine development, and offering their own test kits to combat the outbreak.

The world can only halt COVID-19 through solidarity.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ recent words Guterres’ words echo the anticipation of the global community: “The world needs the development, production and equitable delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. Not a vaccine or treatments for one country or one region or one-half of the world, but a vaccine and treatment that are affordable, safe, effective, easily-administered and universally available, for everyone, everywhere.”

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