To prevent infection from coronavirus, scientists around the world are working hard to prepare a vaccines to prevent the epidemic.
Experts say that the speed with which scientists are doing research for the corona virus vaccines is extraordinary. The development of a vaccine takes years and sometimes even decades. For example, the Ebola vaccine that has been approved recently took 16 years to develop.
And the process of development of a vaccines goes through many stages. The first phase is at the laboratory, followed by testing on animals. If during the experiment it seems that the vaccines is safe to use and immunity starts to appear, then testing is started on humans.
Six hopes of vaccines
The good thing at the moment is that within just three months, six of the 90 research teams working on the Covid-19 vaccine have reached what is considered to be a major goal and that is testing humans.
Let’s see what these 6 vaccines are:
1) mRNA-1273 vaccine
Moderna Therapeutics is an American biotechnology company headquartered in Massachusetts. This company is working on a new research strategy for the development of the Covid-19 vaccines.
Their purpose is to prepare a vaccines that will boost a person’s immunity so that they can fight against the corona virus and prevent disease. But the mRNA-1273 vaccine from Moderna Therapeutics does not use the viruses responsible for the pandemic Covid-19.
Its trial is being funded by the National Institute of Health of America. This vaccine is based on messenger RNA or messenger ribonucleic acid.
Scientists have prepared the genetic code of the corona virus in the lab, a small part of it will need to be injected into the person’s body. Scientists are hoping that by doing this a person’s immunity will react to fight against infection.
2) INO-4800 Vaccine
American biotechnology company Inovio Pharmaceuticals is headquartered in Pennsylvania. Inovio is also underway in a research related to coronavirus.
The company’s focus is on creating a vaccine in which DNA will be injected directly into the patient’s cells via a plasmid (a kind of small genetic structure).
This is expected to start producing antibodies to fight infection in the patient’s body.
Both Inovio and Moderna are resorting to new technology in which a genetic structure is being altered or improved.
3) AD5-nCoV Vaccine
On March 16, when Moderna Therapeutics began testing its vaccine on humans, Chinese biotech company CanSino Biologics also started its trials on the same day.
The Institute of Biotechnology and the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences are also working in this project along with CanSino Biologics.
In the AD5-nCoV vaccine, a particular version of adenovirus is used as a vector.
Adenoviruses are the group of viruses that cause infections in our eyes, trachea, lungs, intestines and nervous system. Common symptoms are fever, cold, sore throat, diarrhoea and pink eyes. And vector means a virus or agent that is used to deliver DNA to a cell.
Scientists speculate that this vector will activate a protein that can be helpful for immunity in fighting infection.
4) LV-SMENP-DC Vaccine
Another human vaccines LV-SMENP-DC is also undergoing testing at the Shenzhen Genoimmune Medical Institute in China. It uses those cells produced from the lentivirus responsible for HIV-like disease that activate immunity.
5) ChAdOx1 Vaccine
Development of the ChAdOx1 vaccine is underway at the Jenner Institute of Oxford University, UK. Its first clinical trial has been started in Europe on 23 April.
Scientists at the Jenner Institute are also working on the same technology on which the Chinese company, CanSino Biologics is doing research.
But Oxford’s team is using a weaker version of adenovirus taken from chimpanzee. Some changes were made in it so that it does not develop itself among humans.
Doctor Felipe Tapia says, “Actually, those people are preparing the virus in the lab which is not harmful. But it has corona virus protein on its surface. It is expected that this protein will activate immunity in humans.”
Scientists have been using this technique even before. With its help, the vaccines of MERS Corona virus has been developed.
Also, the clinical trials of this vaccines have yielded positive results.
6) Another vaccine is being made in Wuhan
The third vaccine is underway in China. In it, there is a proposal to give vaccine of inactivated virus. For this vaccine, some such changes are made in the inactivated virus due to which they lose their ability to make someone sick.
Dr. Felipe Tapia explains, “This is the most common technique to prepare a vaccine. Most vaccines are prepared from this procedure”.
So if a vaccine is going to be ready within the next 12 to 16 months, it will be based on this technology.
Challenge of mass production
Even though the treatment of Covid-19 disease is being researched speedily, experts say that there is no guarantee that any of these vaccines will work or not.
As Dr. Felipe Tapia, who is a specialist in the Bioprocess Engineering Group of Max Planck Institute in Magdeburg, Germany says that, “No comments can be made right now. For example, no one can tell what the unexpected reactions of these vaccines can be or whether these vaccines can be applied to different populations or people of different ages. It will be known only with time. “
And to create an effective vaccine, getting it approved would only be the first step. After that the real challenge will be to produce this vaccine for billions of people and to deliver it to the needy people.
Challenges in the path of vaccine
Dr. Tapia also says, “But none of these techniques has yet discovered any drug or treatment. Nor has any of their discovery been allowed to be used on humans. However, there lies a hope from the development of these vaccines. “
Doctor Felipe adds, “But you need to be a little careful, because they will be vaccines that have no other examples in history.”
“Even the scientists at Moderna Therapeutics themselves have stated that the biggest challenge they face is to take this vaccine to production and marketing status because they do not currently have a license to develop a vaccine based on messenger ribonucleic acid.”