Oxfords Infectious Disease Expert Explains When the Pandemic Will End and We May Not Need A Vaccine

4An infectious disease expert answers

Professor Sunetra Gupta who is an infectious disease epidemiologist and a professor of theoretical epidemiology at the University of Oxford, England in a special interview to Indian media feels that even though several studies have been done on the efficiency of vaccines, the Coronavirus is just another pandemic like the flu and nothing special may be needed for it. Speaking to the media she says that the coronavirus is dangerous for those in the high-risk categories and those who are healthy may recover quickly.

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“What we’ve seen is that in normal, healthy people, who are not elderly or frail or don’t have comorbidities, this virus is not something to worry about no more than how we worry about flu.”

An infectious disease expert answers

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5Is COVID-19 less deadly than influenza outbreak?

Professor Gupta goes on to explain that vaccine development for the coronavirus is easier than one for the flu which was always more fatal for humans. She says “Hopefully with a lower death toll than influenza. I think it is fairly easy to make a vaccine for coronavirus. By the end of this summer, we should have proof that the vaccine works.”

The professor feels that lockdowns across the globe are helping curb the virus to some extent, but they can never be considered a non-pharmaceutical solution to combating the pandemic. As reported in the Hindustan Times. “A lockdown is a noble and a sensible idea to keep the virus out but is very difficult to put in place without non-pharmaceutical interventions,” she stated.

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Professor Gupta is known for her practical take on the pandemic and in June also said how lockdown could weaken people’s immunity making them vulnerable to more dangerous viruses in future as reported by the Daily Mail. The professor’s comments bear similarities in what the World Health Organization said a month back that the world should not pin hopes n a vaccine and should continue to adopt other stringent measure to keep the pandemic in check.

Professor sunetra gupta

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6What are the updates on vaccines?

As for vaccines, well, a couple of months ago we heard about several vaccines underway with Oxford university making a big breakthrough and proposing their vaccine for pharma giant AstraZeneca will be ready by December. Russia says it will have a vaccine ready by this month itself although the country hasn’t mentioned if there have been tests for it yet. Major companies in China are hopeful of a vaccine soon since they are already in phase 3 of clinical trials. So are vaccines that are being developed in France, Germany and the US. Pharma companies Sinovac and Moderna are also in phase 3 of vaccine development while Johnson and Johnson and Seneca are also in the later stages of vaccine development.

What are the updates on vaccines

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7When will we have a vaccine ready?

Although most vaccine development around the world is in stage 3 of clinical trials, there is no assurance when a vaccine will be available and if it is, then will it be affordable too. AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson say they will not profit from the vaccines which they may sell at cost price, however, Moderna says its vaccines will not be sold at cost and may cost around $39.

There are a lot of factors to be considered where vaccines are concerned, the biggest of which is how long will a vaccine protect someone from the coronavirus. There is a possibility that vaccines may offer only limited protection, or it may also not work for everyone.

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Vaccine timeline as of July 31

  • 160 vaccine candidates in pre-clinical or clinical trials
  • 23 in clinical trials
  • 6 in final stages, phase-III of human trials
  • 8 candidate vaccines being developed in India. Two of these have entered phase -II trials after completing phase-I.
 When will we have a vaccine ready

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