Many countries across the globe are witnessing a resurgence in their daily coronavirus (Covid-19) cases and deaths. Cities such as New York in the US, Turin in Italy and London in the UK have been placed under stringent lockdowns due to the possibility of a second wave of the outbreak.
Apart from imposition of lockdowns, governments have also increased testing and surveillance to detect those infected at the earliest which in turn would help curb the spread of the disease. But there seems no other way to bring a complete pause to the pandemic other than a vaccine – which is safe, affordable and effective.
Speaking to news agency AFP, a World Health Organisation (WHO) expert said that public distrust risked rendering even the most effective treatments useless against the Covid-19 crisis.
With less possibilities of a sharp drop in the global caseload which has already infected over 53 million people and killed 1,309,408, here are the latest updates on the coronavirus vaccine:
1. Operation Warp Speed chief adviser Moncef Slaoui during a press briefing at the White House said that United States hopes to immunise 20 million citizens in December and a minimum of 25 million each month next year. Slaoui added that he hopes two vaccines in the final phase of trials developed by Pfizer and Moderna would soon be approved for emergency use next month.
2. On Friday, software giant Microsoft in its blogpost said that hackers from North Korea and Russia were trying to steal valuable data from companies engaged in the research and development of coronavirus vaccines. Microsoft added that majority of these attacks were unsuccessful.
3. The first phase trials of another vaccine of Biological E, a Hyderabad-based biopharmaceutical, will begin at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Patna, from Monday. People between the ages of 18-55 can volunteer to receive the shot.
4. COVAX – formed by the WHO and vaccine alliance Gavi to provide equitable access to the coronavirus vaccine – has exceeded an interim target of raising more than $2 billion to buy and distribute vaccines for poorer countries.
5. South Korea-based GL Rapha will produce 150 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine per year. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on Friday said that the South Korean firm is expected to begin production next month.
6. According to news agency Bloomberg, Serum Institute of India Ltd’s (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla pointed out that if the final-stage trial data shows AstraZeneca’s candidate gives effective protection from Covid-19, the SII might get authorisation by December. SII is ramping up the production of AstraZeneca’s vaccine and aims to have 100 million doses ready by next month.
(With agency inputs)