We are launching our new initiative “Timeline”, under which, all the updates related to a particular issue will be posted, along with the basics. All covered issues will be continuously updated, as and when any related news appears.
In this post, you can read about all the developments related to COVID-19 vaccines that took place in the last few months.
- COVAX program February 27, 2021What is the News? Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive a shipment of coronavirus vaccines under the COVAX program. What is the COVAX program? The COVAX program is ...Continue Reading
- India to gift 2 lakh vaccine doses to ‘UN peacekeeping forces’ February 18, 2021What is the News? India has announced a gift of 2,00,000 doses of vaccine to the UN Peacekeeping Forces. About United Nations Peacekeeping forces: It was created in 1948. They are often referred ...Continue Reading
- Vaccination of manual scavengers must be prioritised February 17, 2021Synopsis: The government is focussing on the vaccination of frontline sanitation workers. However, the most vulnerable among them, Manual scavengers, did not gethe attention they deserve. Introduction India is far behind in ...Continue Reading
- ICMR’s 3rd serological survey: Need to rethink on vaccination strategy February 6, 2021Synopsis: The recent findings of ICMR’s 3rd serological survey can be used to revalidate the vaccination policy of India. Background The ICMR’s third serological survey findings were published at a press conference ...Continue Reading
- Vaccine battle among countries February 5, 2021Source: Click here Syllabus: GS 2 – Health related issues Synopsis: Countries should refrain from engaging in vaccine battles and focus on global cooperation. Introduction Almost all countries across the globe are in need ...Continue Reading
- “BBV154” A Bharat Biotech’s Intranasal Vaccine vaccine January 28, 2021What is the news? An expert body is looking into Bharat Biotech’s application for testing its Covid-19 vaccine, BBV154. This is an Intranasal Vaccine. What is Intranasal Vaccine? Vaccines are administered as injectable ...Continue Reading
- “Covaxin” is effective against U.K. virus variant January 28, 2021What is the News? Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology(NIV) study found Covaxin effective against the new UK variant of Covid-19. About the Study: The study has ...Continue Reading
- COVID Vaccine and Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP), 2020 January 27, 2021Source: Click here Syllabus: GS 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education and Human Resources. Synopsis: The hasty Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the ...Continue Reading
- Vaccine Diplomacy | Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles receive Covishield January 25, 2021Why in News? India has sent shipments of Covishield vaccines to Myanmar, Mauritius, and Seychelles under its ‘Vaccine Maitri’ (vaccine diplomacy) drive. Vaccine diplomacy: It is the branch of global health diplomacy ...Continue Reading
- Vaccine diplomacy January 23, 2021Synopsis: India’s Vaccine diplomacy will raise India’s Stature at the global arena. Background: Till now, India has supplied Covid19 vaccines to Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles. The initial supplies ...Continue Reading
- Co-WIN platform upgraded January 23, 2021Why in News? The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced the upgradation of Co-WIN software. It is to cater to more sessions per site and change in site location. Facts: CoWIN App: It is a digitalised platform by the ...Continue Reading
- Vaccine Maitri: India Vaccine diplomacy exercise January 20, 2021Why in News? India will officially start its vaccine diplomacy with the name “Vaccine Maitri” under its Neighborhood First policy. Vaccine Diplomacy: It is the use of vaccines to increase a country’s diplomatic relationship with other countries. Key Features of Vaccine Maitri India will supply ...Continue Reading
- Global stockpile of Ebola vaccine January 20, 2021Why in News? WHO, UNICEF, IFRC and MSF announced the establishment of a Global Ebola Vaccine Stockpile to ensure response to outbreak. Facts: Global Ebola Vaccine Stockpile: The stockpile is led by International Coordinating Group(ICG) on Vaccine Provision ...Continue Reading
- Covaxin not to be used in certain cases January 20, 2021News: Bharat Biotech has come out with a fact sheet about the process involved and who should avoid taking the Covaxin vaccine. Facts: Covaxin: It has been indigenously developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ...Continue Reading
- Over 2.24 lakh vaccinated in 2 days, 447 adverse events: Centre January 18, 2021News: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released the data on COVID-19 vaccination. Facts: Key Highlights of the Data: India has vaccinated the highest number of persons on the first day ...Continue Reading
- Factsheet for administration of COVID-19 Vaccine released January 16, 2021Synopsis: Government has released a Vaccine Fact sheet that contains guidelines for administering both vaccines (Covaxin and Covishield). Background Union Health Ministry has sent a comprehensive fact sheet for both vaccines (Covaxin and Covishield) to all states and immunisation officer. The Centre has also ...Continue Reading
- Strategic guidelines for COVID vaccine program: Challenges and suggestions January 15, 2021Synopsis: Government has issued strategic guidelines for the effective rollout of COVID vaccine program. There are challenges in the way of the Vaccine program that should be tackled as soon possible. Strategic ...Continue Reading
- Issues in the process of COVID Vaccine trial January 14, 2021Synopsis: Many issues have been highlighted in the Phase-3 trial of Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccines. Those issues could have been avoided after HPV vaccine trial controversy. Introduction In a previous case, Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine trial was carried out ...Continue Reading
- Preparing workforce for COVID vaccination January 9, 2021Synopsis:India is near vaccine roll out, but it lacks trained healthcare workers for the job. Introduction The permission of two COVID-19 vaccinats for emergency use is nearing. There is now hope of ...Continue Reading
- Pune hub to track vaccine chain across 41 key cities January 6, 2021News: A command and control centre has been set up at Airports Authority of India Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Limited(AAICLAS) to monitor the movement of COVID-19 vaccines. Facts: Source: The ...Continue Reading
What are vaccines?
A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins, or one of its surface proteins. Vaccines are like a training course for the immune system. They prepare the body to fight disease without exposing it to disease symptoms.
How Vaccine Works?
- Our immune system is composed of various types of cells. These cells defend us against invaders and remove harmful pathogens. Vaccination works by teaching our immune system how to recognise new diseases.
- Vaccines stimulate our bodies to make antibodies against antigens of pathogens. It also teaches the immune system to remember the antigens that cause infection, which leads to a faster response to the same disease in the future.
- In simple terms, vaccines work by exposing a person to a safer version of a disease. While the body responds to the vaccine, it builds an adaptive immune system, which helps the body to fight off the actual infection in the future.
- When foreign invaders such as bacteria or viruses enter the body, immune cells called lymphocytes respond by producing antibodies, which are protein molecules. These antibodies fight the invader known as an antigen and protect against further infection.
- After the threat has passed, many of the antibodies will break down, but immune cells called memory cells remain in the body. When the body encounters that antigen again, the memory cells produce antibodies fast and kill the harmful micro-organism.
Understand the phases/process of Vaccines development
Researchers and scientists would have taken years in Vaccine development in normal circumstances; however, it is only due to the emergency situation arising due to Corona Virus Pandemic. It is expected that a Vaccine would be developed within 4-5 months.
Phase 1 - It involves a basic understanding of the virus to identify the structure of proteins and genetics that make up the virus. It provides a basis for developing diagnostics kits and potential treatment options.
Phase-2 - It involves the identification of vaccine candidates by isolating the live virus before inactivating or weakening that can be used for immunity development.
Phase -3 - Pre-clinical testing: This is the stage before the vaccine can be tested on human, Vaccine is tested on the animals in this stage to see the response.
Phase -4 - Clinical trials: It involves testing on humans. There are 3 phases of clinical trials
- Phase I of a clinical trial is conducted on small group of healthy individuals. It only indicates what is the ideal dose required to administer in the next stage, it provides evidence of the vaccine’s ability to generate an immune response and its safety.
- Vaccine is not considered safe if it develops any major complication, however little headache and fevers are expected.
- In phase II, the range of participants is expanded to few hundred healthy participants to check the immune response system in the body and it also assesses the time period for which antibodies last to provide immunity against the virus.
- Phase-III involves a very large group of people (Thousands of individuals) to investigate its efficiency among large population groups. Half of the population is administered the actual Vaccine and other half are administered dummy vaccines.
- Individuals administered Vaccines are checked on fixed intervals which can be months in normal conditions to see whether their immune system is responding to the virus or not.
Phase- 5: After Vaccine is successfully tested, it would require regulatory approval before it can be produced in bulk quantity.
Importance of Vaccine development for India
- India is the largest vaccine producing country in the world and if India is able to produce an indigenous vaccine, it will help in matching the demand in time, which otherwise would not have been possible for one more year.
- India is one of the most affected countries due to COVID, it would have to wait for a long time if it was not being developed indigenously. Once the trials are done, Bharat Biotech will be targeting a manufacturing capacity of 300 million doses.
- Approximately 70 per cent of vaccines for low- and middle-income countries are manufactured in India and delivered through partnerships with UNICEF and Gavi. Vaccine development in India ensures the availability of affordable vaccines.
What are the challenges across distribution of COVID-19 vaccine?
- Priority– Within the country, it is certainly not clear who should be treated first or it should be determined by need, affordability, vulnerability or some other criterion or a combination of all.
- Guideline– The need of a policy regarding how much of the vaccine produced should go to other countries and at what cost. It must ensure whether agencies funding the research or the researchers or government authorities or citizens decide on a global policy of distribution.
- Adult Vaccination program: mass-scale immunization programs aimed at the adult population does not have much awareness right now. Vaccination is currently limited to children and pregnant women
- Distributive hierarchy–The cost of the vaccine and its possible loss will have to be borne by the last receiver which likely to be more needy people of the society.
- Cost– If open market forces determine the cost of the vaccine and affordability then, the section of society most vulnerable to the disease would get left out. Affordable prices ensure that more people around the globe have access to these life-saving tools.
- Post-Vaccination antibody tests: Even if the immunization is done on a mass level, there will be a requirement for reliable anti-body tests that can provide the right info on the impacts of Vaccination. Presently available anti-body tests are unreliable.
Timeline Initiative: It is a new initiative by ForumIAS for comprehensive coverage of burning issues.