Potential COVID-19 vaccines: From a self-limiting virus to a self-assembling vaccine, scientists are pulling out all the stops
There is currently no authorized treatment for the infection, though various governments have green-lighted emergency treatments with little evidence.
As the world crossed 1.35 million cases of COVID-19 and 75,000 deaths, the requirement for drug treatments and vaccines is greater than ever. There is currently no authorized treatment for the infection, though various governments have green-lighted emergency treatments with little evidence.
A vaccine is not expected to become available for at least a year, and experts suggest that even that is optimistic. Even if a vaccine is produced, it may not provide complete immunity, and will likely be less effective for older populations. Having said that, a vaccination program could help flatten the curve of infected cases and restore some normalcy to the world which is now witnessing unprecedented lockdowns.
Here are two promising vaccine potentials:
Voltron Therapeutics: US-based Voltron Therapeutics, announced a partnership earlier last month with Massachusetts General Hospital. They are set to launch animal trials late April. They are employing a self-assembling vaccine (SAV) technology to develop the vaccine. This is different from traditional vaccines that use a weakened form of the virus to trigger an immune response. Instead, SAV uses protein nanoparticles that are assembled to trigger immune reactions. Since the virus itself is not involved, this approach is considered safer and has been used in the past to develop powerful vaccines.
Coroflu, Bharat Biotech: Bharat Biotech will collaborate with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and pharma company FluGen to develop a vaccine called Coroflu, which will be administered intranasally. FluGen has an existing vaccine called M2SR, which is a self-limiting version of the influenza virus that produces an immune response against the pathogens. The teams will work together to incorporate parts of the genome of the COVID-19 virus into the structure and test the results. Research and modifications are ongoing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and it will be at least three to six months before clinical trials can take place. Bharat Biotech has said that once the technology and know-how are transferred to them, they will produce around 300 million units of the product for global distribution.
For more information, read our article on How to avoid getting COVID-19 infection if you are a healthcare worker.
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The active cases comprises 0.10 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has increased to 98.72 per cent, the health ministry said
The sensor used in the mask can respond to as little as 0.3 microlitres of liquid containing viral proteins, about 70 to 560 times less than the volume of liquid produced in one sneeze and much less than the volume produced by coughing or talking
The active cases comprise 0.11 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has increased to 98.71 per cent, the health ministry said