The coronavirus pandemic, which has grappled the world since the beginning of the year, has infected more than 12 million people and killed 500,000 all over the world. While over 7 million virus-infected people have recovered so far, scientists and other healthcare systems worldwide are trying to upgrade production and development of a potential Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
However, on Friday, a parliamentary panel was informed that Covid-19 vaccine is expected only by early next year. Presentations were given by the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the principal scientific adviser to the government before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Climate on the Centre's Covid-19 preparedness, according to news agency PTI.
This was the first meeting of the panel since the nationwide lockdown was imposed on 25 March.
Apart from that, Gilead Sciences, Oxford University's researchers and American biotech company Moderna are at the forefront of developing a Covid-19 vaccine.
Here are the latest updates on Covid-19 vaccine development:
- Based on severity of symptoms, Covid-19 can be categorised into three groups: mild, moderate and severe, said Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday while also spelling out the therapy for the cases.
- BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc's Covid-19 vaccine candidate is expected to be ready to seek regulatory approval by the end of 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing the German biotech firm's chief executive officer. The experimental vaccine, which showed promise against the fast-spreading respiratory illness in early stage human testing, is expected to move into a large trial involving 30,000 healthy participants later this month, pending regulatory nod.
- Tuberculosis vaccine may limit COVID-19 deaths: A tuberculosis vaccine routinely given to children in countries with high rates of that bacterial disease might be helping to reduce deaths from COVID-19, researchers reported on Thursday in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- Gilead Sciences Inc said on Friday an analysis showed its antiviral remdesivir helped reduce the risk of death in severely ill COVID-19 patients, but cautioned that rigorous clinical trials were needed to confirm the benefit.
- Moderna Inc has said that it has signed an agreement with Spain's Laboratorios Farmacéuticos Rovi SA to scale up the manufacturing and production of its potential COVID-19 vaccine to supply markets outside the United States.
- The US government has allocated more than 11,000 courses of Gilead Sciences Inc's COVID-19 treatment remdesivir to the four states now being hardest hit by the fast-spreading outbreak in the United States. The remdesivir is being distributed to Texas, Florida, California and Arizona on Friday and Monday, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website.
- Molecular study finds multiple types of Covid-19: To learn more about why only some coronavirus patients become severely ill, researchers studied patients' "blood transcriptome," the complete set of genes that are activated in immune cells in the blood. They found at least five different types of immune response against the coronavirus - not just "mild" and "severe," according to a paper posted online ahead of peer review.
- Months later, recovering patients still have symptoms: More evidence is emerging that severe COVID-19 has lingering after-effects. Nearly 90% of recovering COVID-19 patients discharged from a hospital in Rome were still not back to normal an average of two months after becoming ill, researchers said. Doctors there studied 143 adults who had been hospitalized on average for two weeks.
With inputs from agencies