Prof. Dr. Abdullah G Arijo

Most probably after 1997, when scientists de-coded the Human Genome Project, the Dolly sheep cloning went in veins. After such a long time, a miracle news has come from Moscow on August 11 when  President Vladimir Putin on state television said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move hailed by Moscow as evidence of its scientific prowess.

Although an effort is in pipeline for developing a vaccine against Covid-19, a team of Israeli scientists got famous on the point of developing the first vaccine against coronavirus, as announced by Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ofir Akunis. He anticipated that if all goes as planned, the vaccine could be ready within three weeks and available in 90 days. Everyone congratulated The Galilee Research Institute on this exciting breakthrough. But more complete and attractive news has now come from Russia.

This novel development surfaces the way for the mass inoculation of the Russian population with the vaccine, even as the final stage of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy continues. International media conclude that the speed at which Russia is moving to roll out its vaccine highlights its determination to win the global race for an effective product but has stirred concerns that it may be putting national prestige before sound science and safety.

Though there are world-class labs and universities in a run to develop and launch Covid-19 vaccine and partial announcements were brought in on the market, but all in the vein when on state television, Putin said the vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, was safe and that it had even been administered to one of his daughters and after satisfying results, he expresses his hope that Russia would soon start mass-producing the vaccine after Phase III trial after approval by the health ministry.

While coronavirus cases have now offended more than 20 million people worldwide, a number that has doubled in about six weeks, according to a New York Times database. The global death toll has reached nearly 735,000. More than 200,000 cases are being reported each day on average, according to the database. The United States leads all countries in cases, with 5.1 million. More than 47,000 cases and more than 530 deaths were announced across the nation Monday. The next highest caseloads are Brazil, with three million confirmed cases, and India, with 2.3 million, the need for developing vaccine gets more grip.

After lockdowns went into effect across the world in March, cases leveled off in April. But as countries began to reopen again, cases started to rise. The virus is resurgent in Europe now, with Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain among the countries seeing cases rise.

Africa reached 1 million cases last week, although the spread there happened more slowly than anticipated. Latin America is also dealing with high numbers. Brazil’s case count has remained stubbornly high. And Mexico passed 50,000 deaths from the virus last week.

While some western, traditional, or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of mild COVID-19, there are no medicines that have been shown to prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19? However, there are several ongoing clinical trials of both western and traditional medicines. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19 and will continue to provide updated information as soon as research results become available?

The story of coronavirus in Pakistan is quite interesting. Pakistan on Monday removed nearly all its coronavirus-related lockdowns, citing a sharp decline in new infections and deaths over the past month. More colors came to the country when Volkan Bozkir, president-elect of the United Nations General Assembly, has endorsed the country’s gains in the fight against the pandemic.

Outbreaks of the novel coronavirus spread throughout the South Asian nation of about 220 million in late February, prompting fears of an imminent health disaster in the country with its traditionally neglected health care system.

In mid-March, the sitting government closed all schools, banned public gatherings, and transport links, locked the national economy, sealed land borders, and limited international flights. Restrictions on certain sectors have since been gradually eased to restore economic activities with a lot of contradiction and criticism.

On Monday, August 10, including Sindh the government reopened all sectors and outlined strict guidelines on maintaining social distancing, avoiding big gatherings, and wearing masks to help sustain the national gains against the pandemic. Educational institutions and wedding halls will remain closed until mid-September.

The decline in COVID-19 cases does may only decrease our worries for the time being, but fear prevails truly that corona cases may erupt again in Pakistan, so there is every reason to keep wisdom-full vigilance and we must never-give-up our efforts on vaccine development.

Writer Prof. Dr. Abdullah G Arijo is Chairman, Department of Parasitology, Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam

Published in Vns Live 11-08-2020



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