Vaccine and priorities - GulfToday

Vaccine and priorities


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It is encouraging to read that the Oxford vaccine is showing positive results (Oxford COVID-19 vaccine produces immune response in early human trial, July 20, Gulf Today).  

There are around 170 vaccines at various levels of development. The testing should be rigorous, so that they are safe. Till a vaccine is found and disseminated across the world, the COVID-19 trauma will continue. The lockdowns provide time for governments to enhance and revamp their medical facilities, beds, etc. However, in developing countries like India and Brazil, even the augmented medical facilities are inadequate to deal with the crisis. So, the only solution to managing COVID-19, is to find the vaccine.

Some suggestions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine are, first, the corporations and institutes engaged in the research should cooperate among themselves and not compete to be first. This is not a contest between countries or companies. The goal is to save human lives and families. Second, they should not try to make profits from this vaccine; it should be patent free. Third, after discovery the vaccine should be first distributed to the most vulnerable sections, like frontline medical workers, slum-dwellers, hot-spots, etc. Fourth, we should ensure that all nations receive equitable treatment when the vaccine is discovered.

Whilst the world searches urgently for a vaccine to fight COVID-19, there is also a desperate need to expand medical facilities like hospitals, doctors, nurses and medical equipment in developing countries in Asia and Africa.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting us smack in the face, we were inundated with news about advances in technologies like digitisation, blockchain theories, artificial intelligence, etc. What is the use of all these technologies, if they cannot be used to accelerate the finding of a vaccine? Are they just fashion fads? We must reduce the time for finding a vaccine from 18 months to six months. The eternal gratitude of mankind will be due to the institutes that discover the vaccine.

Rajendra Aneja — Mumbai, India

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