Written by Nihal Singh Dhingra, a grade 10 student
The world has come to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. More than a year into the pandemic and nothing seems to have improved. There is a drastic increase in the number of cases every day. Fortunately, many vaccines against the virus have been created and some of them are very promising.
A few of them are listed below.
The first vaccine was developed in Russia by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Moscow in collaboration with the Russian defense ministry, named Sputnik V. The release of this vaccine raised concerns among many people as it was authorized without the phase-3 human trials, which determines the safety of the vaccine and are considered essential for regulatory approval.
The second vaccine that was introduced after Sputnik V, was that of Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, in collaboration with BioNTech, a German company in mid-December. This is a Messenger RNA vaccine, which is a relatively new form of the vaccine. Many traditional vaccines introduce a weakened or harmless piece of the virus into the body, whereas mRNA vaccines work in a different manner. mRNA is a molecule that is present in all of our cells. These vaccines deliver instructions to our cells how about how to make proteins against bacteria or viruses. However, they can only make a small part of a pathogen, not the whole one. These vaccines may seem simple, but the technology is much more complicated. The most recent test results show that this vaccine (After applying the two shots) has an efficacy rate of 95%.
A week after the introduction of Pfizer, the second American vaccine, made by Moderna, an American biotechnology company that focuses on mRNA vaccines, like this one. Based on the evidence in laboratories, it shows an efficacy rate of around 94.1% after the full dose, which is applied after a gap of 28 days.
In the last week of 2020, the AstraZeneca (A British-Swedish company) vaccine made in Oxford, United Kingdom, named Covishield, was introduced. Initially, this vaccine was said to have an efficacy rate of below 70%, but according to the most recent tests, it shows much better results when the two shots are applied 12 weeks apart. 50 million doses are being manufactured every month, and this vaccine is also available for general use in India. The vaccine is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Pune.
Around the same time, 2 Chinese vaccines were permitted for general use, which were developed by Sinopharm, and Sinovac, 2 Biotech pharmaceutical companies. Sinovac has developed a vaccine named CoronaVac, an inactivated vaccine (i.e., a vaccine containing an inactivated and small infection of the virus) which shows variable efficacy between 65-91% as per the most recent tests. Several Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia have signed deals with Sinovac. Whereas, the Sinopharm vaccine is less promising. It shows an efficacy rate of 79% against the virus (lesser than Sinovac).
Bharat Biotech, an Indian company, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medicinal Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) developed a vaccine named Covaxin. This is India’s first native vaccine, a 2-dose vaccination, and shows an efficacy rate of 81% in preventing Covid-19.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was released in late February 2021, in the USA, and is the only one-shot vaccine that has been released until now. This vaccine has an efficacy rate of 74% and has 100% protection against hospitalization and death from the virus.
Up until now, these are the only vaccines that have been released. The global race to develop more vaccines continues as the world fights against the deadly virus which has bought the world to its knees.
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