Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement

Even as the world remains uncertain about how the Coronavirus pandemic will evolve, scientists have been working tirelessly to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Researchers around the world continue to test new approaches to SARS-CoV-2 immunization and promising therapeutic options for COVID-19, the disease that the novel coronavirus causes.
India had crossed the 15-lakh figure mark on July 28. in the nine days after that; more than 4.95 lakh cases have been added. During the same time, America, which has the maximum number of cases in the world, added 5.19 lakh cases.  Brazil, the only country with more infection than India, added only 3.82 new cases during this period.
As of now, America has 47.20 lakh people who have been infected with the COVID-19, while Brazil has 28.01 lakh. At the rate India is growing right now, it seems poised to overtake Brazil in about a month’s time.
In the absence of a vaccine or a cure, the only way to slow the spread of Covid-19 has been wearing masks, social distancing, and restricting regular activities — things that have taken a toll on life and work. According to WHO, there are six vaccine candidates in Phase-3 or Phase 2/3 trials,. Three of these are Chinese – from Sinovac, Sinopharm and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, and Sinopharm and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products.
India has not signed deals with any of the vaccine makers yet. The Department of Biotechnology and the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, DBT-BIRAC, have funded some Indian vaccine candidates (including those of Cadila Healthcare and Bharat Biotech), but this doesn’t come with any strings attached. To be sure, as a country with enough vaccine-making capacity (and huge expertise in this area), it can always play catch-up with countries that have already planned their Covid-19 vaccine stockpiles, but it wouldn’t hurt to do this now.
India has formed an expert committee comprising representatives from all relevant ministries and institutions to oversee all aspects of its Covid-19 vaccine plan, from the identification of the vaccine to buying to financing the purchase to distribution and administration — a move that comes even as six vaccines are in Phase 3 or combined Phase 2-3 trials and as countries around the world scrambles to strike deals with multiple vaccine makers.

- Prabhakar Purandare

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