Vaccine Current Affairs - 2020

WHO adopts “Human Challenge Trial” to develop new vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced eight candidates to enter human trials. Several people step forward to participate in human challenge trial as the race to develop new vaccine for the virus is increasing.

What is Human Challenge Trial?

The trial involves infecting volunteers intentionally with COVID-19 virus. This is done to speed up the process of vaccine development.

Vaccine Development

The Vaccine development takes several years to develop through three phases of clinical trials. This includes

Phase 1: During this phase small groups of people receive the vaccine

Phase 2: Vaccine is given to those people whose characteristics are similar to those for whom the new vaccine is intended.

Phase 3: Vaccine is given to several thousands to test the safety and efficacy. During this phase, the participants either receive placebo or vaccine. Placebo is something that looks like treatment but is not in reality. It can be a sugar solution or saline.

The Human Challenge Trial is not new. Earlier, similar trials were conducted for malaria as well.

Benefits

The main benefit of the human challenge trial is that it accelerates testing. Many efficacious vaccines shall be available more quickly. Also, the number of people required in phase 3 of these trials is less than the regular trials.

ICMR to develop COVID-19 Vaccine

The Indian Council of Medical Research has tied up with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) to develop indigenous vaccine. The vaccine is to be developed using virus strains that have been isolated from COVD-19 patients at National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

Significance

The Vaccines are important as they play a major role in preventing diseases. Vaccines were the main key to eradicate Small pox.

Current Scenario

Over 40 vaccines are under development in various stages all over the world. The Oxford University recently announced that researchers of the university have begun testing a vaccine against the COVID-19. The Serum Institute of India is one of the partners of the programme.

The Moderna, a US based biotechnology company is now into phase I of clinical trials of a vaccine. Also, a Hong-Kong based biotech firm has announced that it is under phase II of clinical trials of vaccines.

Working of a Vaccine

A Vaccine actually trains the immune system to combat the disease causing pathogen. The idea of vaccination is to inject an inactive harmless strain of the disease causing virus into the body. The immune system will start defending the body against these disease causing agents.

The body thus stays immune even if to an attack of an active pathogen.