A FLASHBACK TO COVID-19!

Hello folks !!

So finally we’ve entered 2021 in a very adventurous way. As now you all know of the adventure I’m talking about , the  adventure of COVID-19. Did you ever think of adventure at home? I know now you all are nodding your head. I am also one of you who never experienced it before COVID-19.

Now let’s talk about the past few months of our lives. “Corona virus started spreading in the Wuhan district of China and slowly got spread in the whole world.” This has been the hot topic of discussion for a year now.

WHAT IS CORONA VIRUS?

By this time everyone knows what Covid -19 stands for. So the ‘Co’ in the name stands for corona, ‘vi’ for virus and ‘d’ for disease. The number 19 is used as it started in the year 2019. Initially the disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel corona virus’ or ‘2019-nCoV’. This disease is linked with the same family of viruses as server acute respiratory syndrome and common cold.

All about COVID-19 - The Hindu

How it got spread ?

The disease got spread when contacted a person who is infected with covid-19 through physical greetings. Handshakes, hugs , and any other physical contact was noted for the same. It is also said that covid-19 is found on the surfaces of metals , woods , clothes etc.

How CAN one prevent themselves from covid-19 ?

It is advised to the whole world to use sanitizers, wear face mask and to wash hands frequently with soap or germ free hand-washes. In the beginning no one took WHO seriously. But when it started spreading in a large number and many countries announced lockdown, the people came to know how dangerous it really is.

COVID-19 AND INDIA

At first when covid-19 was spreading fairly over the world, Indians thought that this virus wouldn’t came to India. Is will get destroyed before entering India and in our this attitude we kept ignoring the safety measures issued by WHO for the whole world. But when the first case was suspected (i.e on 30 January 2020) then people started to follow safety measures but still there are a lot of people who ignored everything.

Lockdown in India

And finally the day came-23rd March,2020 on which a nationwide lockdown was declared by government of India. It was for 21 days only but due to the carelessness of people the lockdown kept on increasing . People started filling their food and other important necessities in their home for next 21 days. Under the lockdown only some things were unlocked like Hospitals, grocery stores, milk dairy etc. The lockdown was a good experience for all of us. It is because the main thing we did was spent time with our families , gave time to our hobbies and ourselves , many of us found a new version of ourselves. We watched Mahabharata, Ramayan, shakitman and many more of these old shows. And with the help of  all these entertaining stuffs we passed our lockdown.

Unlock 1.0 and 2.0

Unlock 1.0 was introduced after almost 2 months of corona virus induced lockdown. In this the restrictions imposed during the lockdown were relaxed to a great extent but social distancing was followed strictly. The strict restrictions were continued in the hotspot zones of the country. The decision to give relaxation in some zones of country was taken in regard of reviving the country. In the same way as unlock 1.0 the unlock 2.0 was also declared after a month of unlock 1.0. In this unlock more services and sectors were relaxed from the restrictions but with maintaining social distancing. Metros , trains ,public buses etc. started, cinema halls got opened , restaurant, hotels etc. got opened, public gatherings up to 50 then 100 people were allowed and now in current times we can see that the world is getting normal day by day.

VACCINATION AND NORMALISATION OF THE SITUATION

So the most asked question of the year 2020 is when will the vaccine come for covid-19?? Am I right? Yes of Corse you all will agree with me . So firstly, congratulations as the vaccine is here it’s been more than two weeks that the doses of vaccine are regulating in the country and now there’s a big hope that everything will come to normal soon.

Many countries and many candidates kept themselves engaged in the making of vaccine during the whole lockdown. India is too a part of this race and finally there’s a vaccine in India which is started regulating over the country . In India there are two vaccines. One is developed by Oxford University and UK based  drug maker AstraZeneca the other is by our own Indian company Bharat Biotech.

So, I would like to end this article by just praying that everything will come to its old normal and happy state soon.

Take care everyone and stay safe.

THANK YOU

Written BY – Nishtha Farma

Vaccine hesitancy

Covid19 is an ongoing disease across the globe. After almost a year of struggles, the vaccine for this deadly disease has been found. 

Covid Vaccine

What is a vaccine?

It is a preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a specific infectious disease.

Vaccines are of great importance to prevent the infection. Recently, many people show a sign of hesitance towards the Covid vaccine. Vaccine hesitancy is the refusal to get vaccinated despite its availability. Several diseases that have taken the lives of thousands before have been completely eradicated now due to the vaccine administration. Let’s not forget about the deadly infectious diseases like Polio, Tetanus, Mumps, and Chickenpox that were put to an end. 

Side effects are considered to be the biggest reason for people refusing vaccines. Vaccines may have side effects like slight fever. But serious side effects are rare. 

Besides, social media spreading vaccine misinformation should be tackled. People trust blindly the information they receive without analyzing the facts and myths. These highlighted a lot of anxiety among the public. One such rumour that spread is that the vaccine could give the disease. They are designed to prevent the disease. People fail to understand this. Vaccines don’t give us the disease they are meant to prevent. They are administered only after detailed and accurate reviews by the Doctors, scientists and other researchers. 

Some people are convinced that the natural immunity is more effective than that is acquired through vaccination. 

Reasons why it is important to get vaccinated:

Vaccines can save lives by preventing contagious diseases

It is safe and effective 

Rapid development

It keeps us safe and healthy.

Doctors, Scientists, and other health researchers strive hard to put this contagious disease to an end. Which is why they have come up with the vaccines that would save thousands and thousands of lives. Do not get misinterpreted by the fake news or rumours. 

Written by R.Varsha

Why is Phase-3 of Vaccine Trial Complicated?

Written by Inshaa Siddiquee

The Covid-19 outbreak has proved to be one of the most challenging phases in our lives. However, many companies are racing towards developing a safe and effective vaccine to protect against Covid-19. Moreover, Phase 3 trials of investigational vaccines are underway.

How are vaccines developed?

New vaccines are tested in clinical trials to determine that they are both safe and effective. After the successful completion of clinical trials, they get licensed in US.

A lot of testing is done before a vaccine ever gets tested in humans. There is a long process of development in the laboratory.

The vaccine is firstly tested on various animals like mice, rabbits, hamsters and primates that have similar human physiology. After which their responses and reactions are studied. Because it is unclear whether these vaccines will work or not, a very structured set of clinical trials begins.

If the vaccine has proven itself it enters the Phase-1 studies.

What Happens in clinical trials?

The phase involves healthy volunteers who are informed about how and why these vaccines are being tested and also about a new potential harm. This process is called Informed Consent taken place before entering the trial.

The clinical trial comprises of 4 phases.

PHASE -1

PHASE -1 includes human pharmacology and safety. Testing takes place among a small group of people (roughly 30-60). It’s given in small doses and monitored to see if it is safe and well-tolerated.

However, a drug’s side effects might be subtle or restricted to a few people. In reference to this Phase-1 trial are not expected to identify all the side effects

PHASE -2

Phase-2 includes testing with a large group of people around 100-300 to determine the safe dosage range to get the desired response.

In reference to Covid-19, AstraZeneca vaccine had been put at halt at this stage. The pause was due to a harmful side effect reported by a volunteer in US who had been injected with the vaccine.

Nevertheless, promising vaccines that are safe and generate strong immune response move into phase-3 trials.

PHASE-3

Phase-3 is a larger version of phase-2 trial. It is held in multiple locations to capture the demographic variability in the population. It a complete randomized and double-blinded trial. Half of the volunteers are given the vaccine, whereas the other half are given placebo (salt water). As the process is double-blinded, neither the participants nor the study staffs are aware about who is getting which type of injection.

Furthermore, the study compares the rate of infection and placebo groups. It tells us whether the vaccine will be able to prevent the infection and if so, if it is effective enough in all of the volunteers or only a sub-group. Along with the safety data that is collected in all phases of vaccine studies, this efficacy data is used by the FDA to decide if the vaccine should be licensed.

In the case of Covid-19, there is an occurring trial of the US-MRNA vaccine.

The CEO of Moderna, Stéphan Bancel said, “The phase-3 for vaccine is a typical clinical trial, it’s a very large one of 30,000 people, 15,000 will receive the vaccine, whereas 15,000 will receive placebo and we will be able to see through data what is the safety of a vaccine and what is the efficacy of a vaccine”.

Across Europe, Brazil and other locations the Oxford vaccine is likely to be tested in the same way.

PHASE-4

A vaccine which clears all the phases is further sent for approval and license. After which the entire company is devoted to creating the vaccine in bulk, safely without it degrading or losing potency.

Post marketing studies delineate additional information, including the treatment’s risks, benefits, and optimal use. As such, they are ongoing during the drug’s lifetime of active medical use.

How to flatten the curve of COVID 19 ?

Introduction:

With the spread of COVID-19, the world is facing an unprecedented economic, social and political crisis. Global leaders and experts said COVID-19 is and will be “the gravest challenge since the World War II.”

Korea is no exception in this global pandemic. Korea
had a surge of COVID-19 outbreak and virus started spreading at the local and community level. The number of new coronavirus cases increases exponentially peaking at 909 new infections on February 29.

But new case has dropped significantly.

Korea was able to successfully flatten the curve on COVID-19 in only 20 days without
complete lock down, which has had a huge impact on global economy, but maintaining a balance between quarantine and social distancing on one hand and continue with economic activities and production on the other.

What is the secret of Korea’s successful response?

ICTs played a vital role in fighting COVID-19 in Korea. Mobile devices were used to support early testing and contact tracing.

Advanced ICTs were particularly useful in spreading key emergency information on novel virus and help to maintain extensive ‘social distancing’.

The testing results and latest information on COVID-19 was made
available via national and local government websites. The government provided free smartphone apps flagged infection hotspots with text alerts on testing and local cases.


In the publication, we will present actual response measures of Korean government against COVID-19 using the latest ICTs and discuss how we can fight smarter against an invisible micro-pathogen.

We hope the information and experience of Korea may
provide a valuable solution to help your country and community combat COVID-19.

ICT helps SOCIAL DISTANCING:

Emergency broadcasting service (CBS, cellular
broadcasting service)

The Cellular Broadcasting Service, or CBS, enables government agencies to transmit emergency alert text messages on natural or man-made disasters to cell phones through mobile telecom carriers in Korea.

The CBS can send these messages without a delivery bottleneck when an emergency occurs because it does not use the general SMS text messaging system.

Moreover, it delivers messages to subscribers’ mobile
phones in a way such that a customized warning alarm only goes off in the disaster area.

In general, the system sends short messages with emergency alerts and guidelines for citizens. Messages are categorized into three types based on the severity of the disaster.

The most urgent emergency disaster messages such as an air
raid warning
and NBC warning are transmitted during wartime with the alarm sounding at a volume above 60 decibels, and it is impossible to ignore the texts.

The second highest-risk notification about emergent disasters sends an alert exceeding 40 decibels when a disaster occurs.

Finally, safety campaign messaging provides safety
notices.

Municipalities throughout Korea are putting every effort into curbing the contagion as they use the CBS to inform the public of the movement paths taken by confirmed patients and other related information.

Residents who receive COVID-19 emergency texts can quickly check if they have been anywhere that overlaps with the movement of a confirmed patient, allowing them to get tested quickly if necessary.

In this way, the CBS contributes to slowing the spread of the virus across the nation.

Smart Working:

A special website providing information of solution companies
for remote working

As services not requiring in-person contact are on the rise due to COVID-19,solutions needed for remote working and remote learning will be provided.


The Korean government opened a website to provide information about companies providing solutions for remote working and education and their products; related support will also be provided. The website was opened after a joint survey with the Korea Software Industry Association to identify business
demand and classifying more than 140 solutions by sector.

The website provides filtered search results of companies (company information, functions
and price of their products, etc.), and users can visit the company website for more details.

Information about free solutions is also available so that they can
be utilized for remote learning and remote working.

Smart working and social distancing (Holding virtual video
conferences)


A number of municipalities in Korea are performing their duties through ICT enabled real-time virtual meetings instead of in-person meetings as part of their efforts to implement strict social distancing measures to slow the spread of new infections.

Video conferencing can be a viable alternative to essential
in-person meetings due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It also helps to prevent
the spread of the virus by eliminating the need for physical contact between the participants.

Remote Education

Providing educational contents by the central government.

As schools have been shut down due to COVID-19, the Korean government is offering science content online to minimize interruptions in students’ learning and expand their opportunities for learning activities.

On March 9, the Korean government created a general information page on the science portal website.

ScienceAll, to introduce diverse online science content, which contains educational content for science, mathematics and software; immersive content for learning science (AR, VR); video clips, comics and quizzes about science.

The government also announced the launch of the page through a notification page for parents. After the information page was created, the number of users of ScienceAll increased by 1.04 compared to the week before and by 2.74 compared to January 2020, showing that more people are using the portal’s content.

As many universities are switching to online classes, instructors are facing problems due to being unable to offer students hands-on experience. To tackle this challenge, the Korean government created and released hands-on learning content using simulation software for 23 high-demand classes in (e.g. quantum
chemistry), in addition to currently available software and educational content.

Using the online simulation platform, EDISON, students will be able to get hands-on experience through simulation and access diverse content including videos, text and data, which is expected to increase the effectiveness of online learning.

Seoul City Office of Education’s efforts in remote education

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE), which has the largest number of students and education-related stakeholders in Korea, has established an educational infrastructure with the view to implementing a stable system of remote education that will be introduced nationwide.

The SMOE is taking a multifaceted approach to providing public schools with the support they need to cover the curriculum.

The SMOE has formulated and implemented the “Operational Plan for the Seoul Version of Online Classes,” which is designed to close learning gaps caused by the closure of schools , following the coronavirus outbreak and prepare students for remote learning.


For aspiring schools and teachers, the SMOE has introduced services via online learning programs such as Edunet, EBS Online Class, and Google Classroom.

It released and distributed an “Online Learning Management Manual” and used the Seoul Education YouTube channel to help teachers who encounter difficulties preparing for online classes.

Remote Medicare

The Korean government has temporarily permitted doctors to perform telemedicine from the end of February as part of preventive measures to avoid group contagion in vulnerable facilities including medical institutions and nursing homes.

In other words, patients can receive phone consultations and
have medicine prescribed without visiting medical institutions when the doctor considers it safe.

Remote medicine targeting confirmed coronavirus patients

Last March, telemedicine services were implemented in Moongyeong Seoul National University Hospital (North Gyeongsangbuk-do Daegu 3 Living and Treatment Support Center) for the first time in Korea, as there were clusters of confirmed coronavirus patients in Daegu City, Gyeongsangbuk-d.

The Moongyeong Seoul National University Hospital relies on video calls and electronic systems more safely and efficiently to monitor coronavirus patients hospitalized with mild symptoms.

Nurses ask patients detailed questions about their conditions via video calls through smart phones. The Moongyeong Seoul
National University Hospital established the same computer network as its main hospital to record patients’ medical examinations and treatments through telehealth video conferencing.

Medical questionnaires filled out by patients and X-ray scans are uploaded onto the computer.

Radiologists from Seoul National University Hospital, which is hundreds of kilometres away from Moongyeong see the video and enter the results into the computer database.


Backed by these services, the hospital has been able to check the symptoms of confirmed patients in real time and transfer patients with aggravated symptoms to larger neighbouring hospitals.

Telemedicine using apps (private sector)

In these circumstances, several start-ups have begun to develop telemedicine service apps. Patients can log onto the Meredith app, select the hospital they want to visit, and make an appointment to see a doctor.

They can receive remote medical advice via video call using the Telemedicine Treatment Room menu provided by the app. Prescriptions are sent to the pharmacy designated by the patient.

Doctor provides a service called Corona virus 119 where self-reporting their symptoms allows patients to receive medical treatment and prescriptions. Corona virus 119 service gives patients access to general diagnoses for a cough or cold alongside remote treatment and prescriptions for suspected coronavirus symptoms.

If an app user is suspected of being infected with COVID-19, they will then be connected to the 1339 hotline. There, they can receive a diagnosis and receive a prescription from a doctor by phone after filling out a questionnaire that screens for symptoms.

Telemedicine using apps leads patients to answer questions about their medical history through mobile devices. The services are highly convenient and efficient, while also preventing contagion that could occur during direct hospital visits.

Predictive Research on the Spread of COVID-19

The government is making full use of Korea’s research capabilities to support the decision-making process of the infection control authorities, such as, sharing data, for accurate and reliable prediction of the spread of COVID-19.

The Korean government is supporting predictive research on the spread of COVID-19 carried out by Korean researchers using diverse methods, by identifying and sharing data that can be used by researchers within the scope of data protection and also by helping researchers establish a professional network among them.

Such support will be useful for forecasting the macroscopic spread of COVID-19 and the effectiveness of response measures, which will be helpful when making decisions needed for infection control.

For example, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) used a supercomputer and Individual Simulation for Transfer Phenomena, KIST’s own modelling method, to analyse the effectiveness of disease control measures taken by the Korean government.

The results from the analysis shows that if social distancing measures had not been taken by the Korean government in the late February, the number of newly confirmed cases per day would have soared to maximum 4,000, indicating the importance of social distancing.

Creating apps related to COVID-19

The development of coronavirus apps is ongoing in Korea. During the initial stages of the outbreak, a university student created the “Corona virus Map” app which informs users of the movements of confirmed patients based on information released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Since, the virus has spread to dozens of areas across the nation and the outbreak has become prolonged, many start-ups have also developed apps, providing a wide range of information and functions.

The app “Now and Here” calculates a mix of risk factors in surrounding areas when users enter their commuting routes. Moreover, if users record their own routes, the app serves the function of comparing the user’s paths with those previously taken by confirmed patients or new patients diagnosed with the coronavirus.

If the user has been at the same place as a confirmed patient at a similar time, the app suggests when and where testing is available. The app Cobaek (an alert for coronavirus within 100 meters) sends an alarm when users are within 100 meters of a place that a confirmed patient visited.

With the alarm on, users are saved the hassle of checking the details of paths taken by confirmed patients. This convenient app has been downloaded hundreds of times. The app was then upgraded to the Cobaek Plus version with the addition of alerts for the availability of publicly provided masks at pharmacies.

Social service personnel from Gyeongsangnam-do produced an app tailored to the region that provides information on the movements of confirmed patients in the region. Using Google Maps, this app displays details on the movement and visits of infected citizens based on the user’s location and a coronavirus patients’ visits to different areas are clearly marked.

The app developers came to realize the inconvenience caused by having to check two apps to discover the paths taken by confirmed patients and locations selling publicly provided masks, despite increasing demand from residents for information on where masks could be purchased.

Accordingly, residents can now receive updates on both through a single app. The number of masks currently available at a given location is announced by color: green (more than 100), yellow (between 30 and 99), red (below 30), and grey (none available), and the information on mask sellers is automatically updated in accordance with the materials publicly released by the National Information Society Agency (NIA).

ICT facilitates COVID-19 TREATMENT:

Research to facilitate drug re-purposing

The government, research institutes and businesses have cooperated to identify candidate drugs for COVID-19 treatment through drug re-purposing, and conducted clinical studies with confirmed patients.

To secure treatments for COVID-19 as quickly as possible, the Korean government is supporting the re purposing of drugs to identify those that are effective against COVID-19. Compared to the development of a new treatment, which generally takes over a decade, drug re purposing only requires efficacy evaluation and can help find COVID-19 treatment in the near future.

To maximize the capabilities and resources of relevant agencies for effective drug repurposing research, the Korean government formed a drug repurposing council, composed of the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT), Institute Pasteur Korea, the Korea Research Institute of Bio science and Biotechnology (KRIBB), the Korea Mouse Phenotyping Center (KMPC), and Korea University.

Drug repositioning aims to validate the efficacy of existing drugs in cells (drug screening), provide the results to healthcare professionals, and test the repositioned drug to patients. Animal testing might be put in place for efficacy validation to provide additional information to healthcare workers.

Developing medicine using AI

Furthermore, the use of AI is expected to reduce the time required to develop medicine, as AI can learn and make deductions based on the virus and other medical data. Company D, which develops new medicine and relevant platforms through the use of AI, used deep learning algorithms to predict the interaction of drug and protein, and propose candidate medicine for the coronavirus.

Company D and the research team at Danguk University under Kang Geunsoo have used AI to analyze the antiviral drugs on the market to predict medicines that may be effective against the COVID-19.

The result of this study was published through a BioRxiv under the title, ‘Predicting commercially available antiviral drugs that may act on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Wuhan, China through a drug-target interaction deep learning model.’

According to the research, Company D and the researchers used pre-trained deep learning-based drug-target interaction model called Molecule Transformer-Drug Target Interaction (MT-DTI) to identify commercially available drugs that could act on viral proteins of SARS-CoV-2. The result showed that atazanavir, an antiretroviral medication used to treat and prevent

the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is the best chemical compound. In addition, the researchers also found that several antiviral agents, such as Kaletra, could be used for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2. Overall, the research suggests that the list of antiviral drugs identified by the MT-DTI model should be considered, when establishing effective treatment strategies for SARS-CoV-2.

Conclusion:

Humanity has usually been at war against each other. But this time, almost every country fight against the same enemy, an invisible micro-pathogen.

The success or failure of this fight will naturally be a measure of the overall capacity of a country, and will have great implications for global community and history. We hope this study will be a small but meaningful policy guides for the international community and especially those developing countries by sharing Korea’s experiences and countermeasures against COVID-19 over the past three months.

COVID-19 countermeasures taken by the Korean government will not be conclusive nor the Korean case cannot be a universal key for all countries’ fight against COVID-19. With that in mind, we can have following five lessons from the Korean government’s response to COVID-19 using ICT.

Finally, we should together make best efforts to turn the crisis into opportunity and make the best use of the cutting- edge ICT technologies in forefront of fight against COVID-19.

We should also work together by making every information gathered on COVID-19 readily available to all.

Any information on fight against COVID-19 is a public good, and it should be provided quickly to everyone in need and in their fight against COVID-19, as they must act and response most quick and swift manner. In this pandemic we are all connected, any wisdom and experience must be also shared quickly and fairly.

BY SHUBHAM KUMAR

Sputnik V: Russia’s Covid-19 Vaccine

On Tuesday, 11th August, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that after less than two months of human testing, Russia had become the world’s first country to approve a COVID-19 Vaccine.

Even though this move raises concerns for many scientists since the vaccine still has to complete final trials, it is being hailed by Russia as evidence of its scientific expertise. 

The vaccine is being called “Sputnik V“. The head of Russia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, Kirill Dmitriev, compared this development to the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik 1, in 1957. He called it a historic “Sputnik Moment” and claimed that Russia has already received foreign requests for over a billion doses.

When people, both nationally and internationally rightly raised concerns over the speed at which Russia was moving, and doubted whether Moscow was putting National Prestige over Public safety, then Putin dismissed the concerns and said that his own daughter has been given a shot of the vaccine which was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, and it is perfectly safe to use.

However, he did not specify exactly which of his two daughters was he talking about.

He further said, “I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks.”

A Moscow based trade body that represents the world’s top pharmaceutical firms in Russia, ACTO (Association of Clinical Trials Organizations), urged the health ministry of Russia to postpone the approval till the phase III trials are complete.

In a letter to the ministry, they stated, “It is during this phase that the main evidence of a vaccine’s efficacy is collected, as well as information on adverse reactions that could appear in certain groups of patients: people with weakened immunity, people with concomitant diseases and so forth.”

This move by Russia has also faced International criticism by experts.

The Economic Times reported, “Duncan Matthews, a professor of intellectual property law at Queen Mary University of London, said news of a potential COVID-19 vaccine was to be welcomed, ‘but safety must be the priority’.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have fast-track approval procedures for emergency humanitarian use and we need to see evidence that Russia is adopting an equally prudent approach,’ Matthews said in an emailed comment.

‘Normally you need a large number of people to be tested before you approve a vaccine,’ said Peter Kremsner from the University Hospital in Tuebingen, currently testing CureVac’s COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trials.

‘In that respect, I think it’s reckless to do that (approve it) if lots of people haven’t already been tested.’”

On August 14th, Russia’s top respiratory doctor, Professor Alexander Chuchalin quit the Russian health ministry, after he failed to block Russia’s “Sputnik V” on safety grounds. He called this move by the Russian government’s gross violations’ of medical ethics.

On the same day, even the WHO (World Health Organization) said that it does not include the vaccine approved by Russia among the nine vaccines it considers to be in advanced stages of testing.

Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior adviser to WHO’s director-general in a statement said, “We don’t have sufficient information at this point to make a judgment” on the Russian vaccine.

“We’re currently in conversation with Russia to get additional information to understand the status of that product, the trials that have been undertaken, and then what the next steps might be”, he further stated.

Despite the criticisms the Russian vaccine has faced, Vietnam has signed up to buy 50-150 million doses of the vaccine, as reported by Tuoi Tre Newspaper.

Israeli health minister stated that Israel will examine Russia’s vaccine and will enter negotiations if it is found to be a “serious product”.

While the Philippines said that it will launch clinical trials of Russia’s COVID19 vaccine in October and if successful it will be registered for public use by April 2021.

“Russian health workers treating COVID-19 patients will be offered the chance of volunteering to be vaccinated in the coming weeks, a source told Reuters last month”, reported Economic Times.

A survey of 3040 Russian health specialists and doctors, conducted by an app called “Doctor’s Handbook” showed that 52% were not comfortable with being vaccinated, while 24.5% agreed to be given the vaccine.

But after many criticisms, the Russian Health Minister, Mikhail Murashko, has said that Russia will publish information on pre-clinical and clinical trials by Monday, i.e. 17th August 2020.

In an interview with India Today, on 15th August, Dmitry Babich, an analyst at RIA Novosti, Moscow, said, “The vaccine is not being used as of now but has been registered. It is still in the third phase of trials, but experts have assured that the vaccine is not dangerous.”

He further said, “ it is yet to be ascertained if the vaccine is 100% efficient but certainly it is safe. The WHO will have to finally clear it to provide it for sales abroad.”

The first batch of Russia’s COVID19 vaccine will be ready for doctors to use within two weeks, as said by Russian authorities.

 Sistema – A Russian business conglomerate, has said that it expects to put the vaccine into mass production by the end of the year.

Aanandita Singh