Painful battle against a never-ending disease - GulfToday

Painful battle against a never-ending disease

BioNTech Vaccine

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on the display. Reuters

The ordeal of millions of people struggling to battle a global disease seems to be never-ending. After months of suffering from the ravages of the pandemic, hope seemed to be in sight as the first Pfizer vaccine, approved by Western governments, started its rollout. People were elated as they felt they no longer had to endure its symptoms, which in many cases led to death. Over a million perished the world over due to the coronavirus, and millions have been infected with it.

However, just as there seemed to be a remedy for the contagion, has come a distressing revelation: the virus will continue exercise its dreadful and dangerous sway over the masses for the next ten years.

BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin has said that the deadly virus is going to stay with us for the next decade at least.

In a virtual press conference this week, Sahin spoke about the potential virus deadline when asked when life could return to normal.

“We need a new definition of normal. The virus will stay with us for the next 10 years,” he told media persons.

BioNTech’s vaccine, developed with the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, has been authorised for use in more than 45 countries, including Britain and the US.

Sahin also said that the vaccine can be adjusted for the new UK variant in about six weeks.

“In principle, the beauty of the messenger technology is that we can directly start to engineer a vaccine which completely mimics this new mutation – we could be able to provide a new vaccine technically within six weeks,” he was quoted as saying in media reports.

Sahin said he was confident that the new variant of the COVID-19 strain in the UK would not impact the efficacy of the vaccine.

The new strain of the virus is causing worry all around the world including in India, and it remains to be seen what effect it could have.

After the discovery of a second new variant of the novel coronavirus in Britain, the UK has reported the highest number of fatalities this week, since late April.

However, already there are doubts over the vaccine. As Singapore prepares to roll out COVID-19 vaccinations its striking success in controlling the virus is making some question whether they should take the jabs. In a city-state where compliance with the authorities is generally high, some Singaporeans fear potential side effects – even if minimal – are not worth the risk when daily cases are almost zero and fatalities are among the world’s lowest.

“Singapore is doing pretty well,” said Aishwarya Kris, who is in her 40s and does not want a shot.

“I doubt the vaccine will help at all.”

A poll by a local newspaper in early December found that 48 per cent of respondents said they will get a vaccine when it is available and 34 per cent will wait six to 12 months.

However, other countries have greenlighted the vaccine. Mexico has, according to one report, begun administering the vaccine, as the government battles a sharp surge in infections that has pushed hospitals to their limits.

Vaccinations will begin at hospitals in Mexico City and the northern city of Saltillo, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday before the first Pfizer vaccines were flown into the capital from Belgium.

Pfizer’s is the first COVID-19 vaccine to reach Mexico, which has also signed deals for vaccines from other firms.

Still, the first shipment only contained 3,000 doses of the vaccine. The next one will contain 50,000 doses, with Mexico slated to receive 1.4 million units of the two-shot Pfizer vaccine by Jan. 31, the foreign ministry said.

By contrast, Costa Rica said it would receive its first 9,750 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine on Wednesday night.

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