The test of time is crucial and critical!

Only a vaccine can restore our confidence in a world stricken by a virus that has infected over 15 million people in a bit over six months and killed 600,000 of them and is adding a quarter of a million cases a day in all areas - urban and rural. With the highest-ever single-day spike of 45,720 cases, India's COVID-19 tally crossed the 12-lakh mark on Thursday, while the death toll mounted to 29,861 with a record 1,129 fatalities in a day. The country crossed the 12-lakh mark just three days after it crossed the 11-lakh milestone. The coronavirus caseload in the country surged to 12, 38,635, while 7, 82,606 people have recovered so far in the country.
The test of time is crucial and critical. The pharmaceutical firms associated with the vaccine developers are girding up for mass production. India can hope to be one of the earliest beneficiaries as Oxford has partnered with the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) for making the vaccine.  As the Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine gains momentum after showing positive results in the initial trials, Serum Institute of India is all set to conduct trials for the vaccine in India, and begin production of the doses as well. More than 5,000 people have enrolled themselves for clinical trials of the Oxford vaccine.
According to a report, Oxford's AZD122 will be called Covishield in India. The vaccine will cost less than 1,000 INR per dose. There is a silver lining in the form of expedited vaccine trials, some of which have reported progress. None of the 224 vaccine trials that are currently going on may promise a one-shot immunity. 23 more vaccines were reported to be readying for human trials and 140 other vaccine candidates lined up not too far behind.  
A word of caution about the efficacy of vaccines is that they have not eliminated any disease in 100 years except smallpox and, to an extent, polio. Booster shots may be required to fight this virus.  On the other hand, WHO expert Mike Ryan has ruled out the possibility of Covid-19 vaccine until early 2021. He said the researchers are making "good progress" in developing vaccines against COVID-19, with a handful in late-stage trials, but their first use cannot be expected until early 2021. He also expressed hope that the Vaccination will commence by the first part of next year. He also emphasized on the need for fair distribution of vaccine after its discovery. The deadly virus has so far infected more than 15 million people across the globe.  According to Johns Hopkins University, the world has witnessed a total of 15,077,182 confirmed coronavirus cases.

- Prabhakar Purandare

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