Headlines April 19, 2020
Indian scientists test multipurpose vaccine against COVID-19
A team of top Indian scientists are testing a multi-purpose vaccine that has proved effective against leprosy to see if it can help tackle the coronavirus. This was told to a news agency by Dr Shekhar Mande who is the Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Speaking to NDTV, Dr Mande said tests have begun on the MW vaccine that has been successfully used against leprosy. He also said that making a vaccine is a lengthy process and that research is still on.
“We are working on a vaccine that improves the immunity in hosts. We are awaiting two more approvals. Once we have those, we will start trials. We will know the results within the next six weeks,” said Dr Mande.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said a specific vaccine for the novel coronavirus that has triggered the COVID-19 pandemic could take at least a year or longer.
Several countries including the United States and China are working on vaccines to counter the respiratory virus that has affected over 21 lakh people across the world and killed nearly 1.5 lakh. In India, over 14,000 people have been infected and 437 have died.
Dr Mande said India is working on genome sequencing of the virus that will help trace its origin and spread. It can also help understand if the virus is mutating and developing resistance to drugs being used against it.
The sequencing has been done at the National Institute of Virology in Pune.
Dr Mande also said there are nearly seven strains of coronavirus in the world. “It is too early to say how many strains we have in India. We will find that out as we perform more sequencing”.
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