COVID-19, this respiratory disease originated in Wuhan, China and threw the country into a state of emergency. Now the Coronavirus has become a health threat across the globe that requires all possible assistance from every nation. In this time humankind is against a race with time, as the pandemic coronavirus is accelerating.
This pandemic has hit hard economies and shattered medical systems, packed hospitals and emptied the public places. Once again, the globe has entered the recession, even worse than which was experienced in 2009. Since the spread of coronavirus gained pace on an international level, solid projections for recession are doing rounds in the market.
Till now this pandemic has slaughtered over 33,000 lives and infected more than 700,000 people across the globe in just a few months, as till now there is no approved treatments or vaccines specifically for novel coronavirus.
In this article, we will acquaint you how the healthcare sector is in the race of developing vaccine and test for coronavirus-
Sign of hope
In January Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was the first large pharmaceutical company to enter the race for a vaccine and since then companies including Pfizer, Sanofi and GSK have also started to compete although none of them have yet tested their potential vaccines in humans.
According to recent media, two US based healthcare companies have brought hope in the race to combat COVID-19, with J&J revealing about a potential vaccine that possibly will be accessible early next year.
Johnson & Johnson highlighted that the Company had discovered a potential vaccine candidate and was teaming up with BARDA (US agency Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority) for investing approximately USD 1 billion (~€900 million) in the development of this vaccine. Moreover, the Company is anticipating commencing in human testing of the vaccine by September 2020. After this announcement shares of Johnson & Johnson jumped 8.00 per cent to USD 133.01 (as on March 30, 2020).
However, another US based health Abbott Laboratories disclosed that the Company is launching a rapid test for detection of coronavirus. Abbott highlighted that the Company is introducing a test for detecting COVID-19, that can be run on a transportable device of a toaster size and will take only five minutes. After this, the shares in Abbott soared to USD 79.34 by 6.41 per cent (as on March 30, 2020).
In many countries difficulties with tests have been condemned for a sluggish reaction to the pandemic. The new diagnostic test of Abbott for coronavirus could shorten the wait to a minimum of 13 minutes for a negative result and five minutes if the test result is positive. The Company also disclosed that it would start distribution of test kits this week to the healthcare providers, for example, urgent care clinics, doctor’s offices and emergency departments.
The chairman and chief executive of Johnson & Johnson- Alex Gorsky stated that the company considers a “deep responsibility” for the improvement of the health of people across the globe, by employing its scientific capability, scale as well as financial strength.
Vaccine Candidate by J&J -
Since January 2020, the Company has been searching for a Covid-19 vaccine, it mentioned that if the early trials turn out well the vaccine could be available by next year (early 2021) to be used under an emergency usage authorization by the US government.
Moreover, the Company also mentioned the expansion of its partnership with BARDA, to set up enough manufacturing capabilities and for research and development to produce a billion doses by the end of 2021.
Johnson & Johnson and Moderna sign deals with the U.S. government
Whereas Johnson & Johnson has disembarked on a vaccine candidate far more quickly than predicted, it stands behind the Boston-based biotech Moderna. The drug candidate of Moderna was developed over a month ago and in March, entered in human trial, six months before J&J intends to prepare its potential vaccine.
The government of United States through BARDA has censored agreements with Johnson & Johnson and Moderna Inc and stated that government is in discussions with at least two other companies to increase the manufacturing facility within the US for vaccines to prevent the COVID-19 even before the availability of safe and effective ones.
Furthermore, it is anticipated that no vaccine to be ready for use until at least 2021, as the vaccines must still be extensively tested in humans before being administered to hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people for prevention of infection.
Moreover, BARDA also disclosed that the effort of J&J would be funded in part by approximately USD 420 million and it also intends to spend an undisclosed amount to ramp up manufacturing for COVID-19 vaccine candidate of Moderna.
Dr Rick Bright, director of BARDA stated that the agency ultimately intends to provide backing for 5 or 6 investigational vaccine candidates, with the prospects of having a minimum of two or three successful vaccines.
Interesting Read: How To Use Psychology To Aptly React To The Coronavirus Pandemic
Risk & threat involved-
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are lots of coronavirus vaccines under development, but it is still unclear that people develop lasting immunity to this novel coronavirus, or what it will take for a vaccine to be protective.
Dr Bright stated that the agency is concerned in working with a wide variety of vaccine technologies and with industries that have an established track record. He also added that there is too much risk involved in development of a novel vaccine and that too by going quickly on it.
CSO of Johnson & Johnson Dr. Paul Stoffels stated that the new vaccine would be based on the similar technology, which was earlier applied to develop a vaccine for Ebola and has been widely used in people.
Johnson & Johnson has a manufacturing plant in the Netherlands that can manufacture up to 300 million doses of vaccine, moreover, the company is also hunting for manufacturing plants in other parts of Asia and Europe capable of producing the type of vaccine J&J is developing.
According to WHO and experts the estimated time for regulatory approval of any effective vaccine could be 12 to 18 months. This time all the health care sector companies need to circle the wagons to protect the globe with the current coronavirus pandemic then only the world will be able to weather the storm.
During this pandemic every person should stay safe and focus in boosting their immunity to fight with COVID-19. Want to know how to boost immunity during this pandemic, Do Read- Ways to Boost Your Immune System to Combat COVID-19
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