By Muhammad Ali
Mississauga – Around the world researchers are trying to rapidly develop an efficient and working vaccine. Justin Trudeau recently announced a potential vaccine was being developed at Dalhousie University and is currently undergoing clinical trials.
The Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health and Research Coalition, which consists of many health institutions such as the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, are focused on strategies to combat the novel coronavirus, as well as facilitate clinical trials for vaccine development. A local vaccine and eased restrictions in Nova Scotia have brought a wave of optimism after months of hardships and challenges. Canada has been known to be an important source of striking medical research such as the discovery of insulin, the Ebola vaccine and for isolating the Coronavirus.
The United States, France, Canada, Britain, China and many other countries have been racing to get a vaccine. Usually a drug takes around six to seven years to develop, but for certain immediate medical events, the process is accelerated. This past week has seen several breakthroughs in research. Moderna, a biotechnology company has released optimistic results, showing success in the program’s early stage testing.
According to the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the US department of health, eight patients who were administered the vaccine, have developed antibody levels similar to blood samples found in people who have recently recovered from COVID-19. Likewise, Justin Trudeau commented that so far Dalhousie University’s vaccine results were, “encouraging”. Remdesivir, an antiviral drug once tested for use in Ebola and Hepatitis C patients is now being used on the COVID-19 virus and has shown somewhat promising results. It works by targeting the RNA polymerase, which is an enzyme that builds more RNA and contributes to the spread of COVID-19. Just recently a 14-year-old boy beat COVID-19 after being treated with Remdesivir.
The EU has fast tracked production of Remdesivir, and Pakistan and India have begun to manufacture it locally. Unfortunately, other vaccines were found to be ineffective, or to not work at all. For instance, at Oxford University, it was found that all Rhesus monkeys contracted coronavirus after being injected with the now falsified vaccine. China, which has been heavily targeted in conspiracy theories, and criticized for its handling of the disease has also been trying to make a vaccine available. A spokesperson from the government publicly announced that they will make the vaccine, “a public good”. The World Health Organization has proposed to guarantee global access to treatments, while also offering appropriate rewards to its creators. In the past, Canada has been very generous as the man who discovered insulin, Frederick Banting did not patent it, and researchers behind the Ebola vaccine distributed it for free. It is no easy task because it is a difficult and risky process to develop a drug of any sort. Companies can spend up to billions in research, and can end up losing a lot. To sum it all, the world is on its way to developing a free, efficient, and working vaccine in order to combat the COVID-19.