Covid -19 Vaccine

img1 Pachu Menon
26 Oct 2020

For a country that is globally renowned for products which have a very short life-span, it is a wonder that Novel Coronavirus which emanated from a lab in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province of China, has continued to play havoc with the lives of people for so long! 

The fascination for Chinese goods has however come to an abrupt end after the virus saga which has made nations the world over show an obvious dislike for anything made in China. 
But the harm has already been done!

The ominous spike in infections worldwide has resulted in a global race for a vaccine which has however yielded no commendable results. The sprint to make medical breakthroughs to contain the coronavirus disease has nevertheless had many nations announcing stunning ‘discoveries’ of a miracle cure. 
Although Russia and China have been frontrunners in the contest, experts claim that the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine has a distinct advantage over vaccines from those two countries. The US meanwhile expects the delivery of a vaccine starting in January 2021. 

Warning his countrymen to be more realistic, the British Prime Minister is however of the opinion that although there were some hopeful signs that a vaccine could be secured for COVID-19, it cannot not be taken for granted. 
India too has been fast-tracking vaccine development process to break the chain of coronavirus transmission. However, with nothing definite to show for the efforts, the country’s search for an effective cure continues.     
However, a needless and hasty announcement some months back by the director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research promising a vaccine by August 15 was an assurance that served to be more of a political statement than a public health one. 

ICMR which by virtue of being one of the oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world is seen as the most authoritative and authentic voice on the pandemic. Such impractical claims as one made by its head can only damage the reputation of the hallowed organization. 

Since when has the quest for a vaccine been defined by time frames! 
Of course as the hunt for that elusive inoculation continues, a sense of desperation is bound to set in. But the question of deadlines does not arise as the research organizations are for once faced with challenge that will transcend all limits of time and patience. 
As the scientific community engages itself with finding that potent ‘shot’ which will enable it rid the world of this viral predator which has enjoyed an unconquered run so far, it is essential that nations refrain from getting into a mood for competitions.

Let us remember that the pandemic has united the world as one in combating the virus. So some good will definitely come of this solidarity.      
High rhetoric and tall promises describe the propitiatory ways of our leaders. But when they are not adequately followed up with the desired results there is every reason to feel let down as has happened in this case where the nation’s inconclusive search for an effective immunity elixir for coronavirus has been quite disturbing. 
The Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan’s optimism about the nation launching a COVID-19 vaccine by early 2021 should hence inspire a new hope among Indians who, like the rest of the world, are eagerly waiting for an antidote which could bring them relief from the woes of the coronavirus disease. 

Nevertheless, this is one sanguine declaration that brings along with it enough skepticism to disturb millions of countrymen who have come to believe that it will take the virus quite some time for it to totally disappear from the face of the earth. 

Discussions on the infrastructure which needs to be in place to roll out the distribution of the vaccine so that it reaches all the people across the country in the shortest possible time could also take an hiatus for some time, at least till such time that an authentic breakthrough is announced by scientists and all clinical trials are carried out to ensure that the vaccine is safe and effective for public health use. 

Promises by those in authority could wait till then as otherwise they would fail to have a ring of sincerity about them. 
By now the populace is attuned to accepting the harsh realities associated with coronavirus and its lethal effects. Hence it would be absurd to feed the public a regular dose of ‘fantasized misinformation’ about the success achieved by the government in controlling the viral ailment. 

At the same time however, the news about empty beds in COVID hospitals in the state baffling the medical authorities is like a whiff of fresh air in an otherwise rancid milieu that makes one wrinkle one’s nose in distaste. 
The medical professionals may hold contrasting opinions about this ‘phenomenon’; but for a layman, the ‘availability of beds’ would suggest a wane in the rapidity of infections. 

Furthermore, news reports that Salcete has been seeing a sharp decline in the number of COVID cases, and tests, would appear to corroborate this assumption.

While these are glad tidings, the country cannot afford to be complacent at this stage considering that the pandemic has appeared to wax and wane repeatedly in the course of the past few months. 
It is said that what goes up must come down! Anything experiencing a large rise or surge will inevitably see a fall or return to normal. It is a universal truth! 

Hence thoughts harboured by many about the coronavirus too making an unceremonious exit and leaving only horrible memories of the devastation caused in its wake are well within the realms of possibility. 
But it is quite sardonic that despite the rapid advances made in science and technology, the world could yet be held to ransom by a tiny microscopic villain!

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