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.
- 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
- Rising vaccine hesitancy and its solution January 5, 2021Synopsis- As the country readies to implement its COVID-19 vaccination programme, vaccine hesitancy could be an issue that the government needs to address forthwith. Introduction- Prime-Minister hailed the approval of two made in India COVID-19 vaccines ...Continue Reading
- India approves two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use January 5, 2021News: Central Drugs and Standards Committee(CDSCO) has approved the COVID-19 vaccines COVISHIELD and COVAXIN for restricted use in emergency situations. Initially, the 3 crore medical personnel considered at the highest risk ...Continue Reading
- Approval to Covaxin, and Covishield Vaccines: Concerns and way forward January 4, 2021This article has been developed based on the Indian Express article “Turning point”. Synopsis- The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved two vaccines — the indigenously developed Covaxin, and Covishield. ...Continue Reading
- Concerns of hasty approval to COVID-19 vaccine January 4, 2021Synopsis- Concerns regarding hasty approval granted to the COVID-19 vaccines despites the lack of adequate efficacy data. Background- The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the Subject Expert Committee’s recommendation for emergency use of ...Continue Reading
- Expert panel grants emergency use authorisation for Oxford vaccine January 4, 2021News: The subject expert committee of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization(CDSCO) has recommended COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield for emergency use authorisation. Facts: COVISHIELD: The Oxford vaccine “AZD1222” is being called Covishield in India. Serum Institute ...Continue Reading
- Health Ministry plans communication strategy January 4, 2021News: Union Health Ministry has released a communication strategy to support the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in India that seeks to disseminate accurate and transparent information by alleviating apprehensions and ensuring its ...Continue Reading
- Government launches Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia(INSACOG) Group January 2, 2021News: Government of India has launched the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia Group(INSACOG). Facts: INSACOG: It has been established to monitor the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2 on a regular basis through a multi-laboratory ...Continue Reading
- Union Health Minister nominated to the Board of GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance December 30, 2020Source: PIB News: Union Health Minister of India has been nominated by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation(GAVI) as a member of the GAVI Board. Facts: Union Health Minister will be representing the ...Continue Reading
- Dry Run and Challenges of Vaccines distribution in India December 29, 2020Synopsis: Indian is one of the world’s leading vaccine manufacturer, thus will have better access to vaccines, but the distribution of manufactured vaccine will prove to be a formidable task. Dry ...Continue Reading
- Essentiality of Dry run for COVID vaccines December 28, 2020Synopsis: Dry runs aimed at testing the planned operations are essential for Covid 19 vaccination process. Background In the coming weeks, the Phase-3 data of two COVID-19 vaccines tested by Indian manufacturers are expected to ...Continue Reading
- Examining the Strategies involved in Distributing Vaccines December 28, 2020Synopsis: The government must examine the principle underlying the triage scheme for optimised use of resources. Background: Over the next 6-7 months, India plans to vaccinate 300 million people against COVID-19 by prioritizing ...Continue Reading
- UNICEF launches the COVID-19 vaccine market dashboard December 28, 2020Source: UNICEF News: As the designated COVAX procurement coordinator and procurement agent, UNICEF has launched the COVID-19 Vaccine Market Dashboard. Facts: Purpose: The dashboard is an interactive tool for countries, partners and industry to follow ...Continue Reading
- India’s First Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine “Pneumosil” December 28, 2020Source: The Indian Express News: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare has inaugurated India’s first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine(PCV) named “Pneumosil”. Facts: Pneumosil: It has been developed by the Serum Institute of India Private ...Continue Reading
- CoWIN Grand challenge, CoWIN platform and CoWIN App December 24, 2020Source: PIB News: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoHFW) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has announced its grand challenge for “CoWIN app”. Facts: Aim: To strengthen the COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network ...Continue Reading
- India and UK launches Virtual Vaccines Hub December 17, 2020Source: Click here News: India and the UK Government has launched a Virtual Vaccines Hub. Facts: Objective: To distribute vaccines for Covid-19 and other deadly viruses by sharing knowledge on clinical trials and regulatory approvals and ...Continue Reading
- India’s plan for Vaccination December 16, 2020Context: Recently unveiled India’s COVID-19 vaccine policy, should make adequate allowances for ground realities. What is India’s plan on vaccinating people? Strategy to slow the virus spread: With a definitive cure not yet available ...Continue Reading
- India’s first indigenous vaccine HGCO19 gets nod for human trials December 12, 2020News: India’s first indigenous mRNA vaccine candidate HGCO19 has received approval from Indian Drug regulators to initiate Phase I/II human clinical trial. Facts: HGCO19: It is a novel mRNA vaccine candidate developed ...Continue Reading
- Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility(APVAX) December 12, 2020News: Asian Development Bank(ADB) has launched a $9 billion vaccine initiative—the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX). Facts: Aim: To offer rapid and equitable support to its developing members as they procure and deliver ...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.