With COVID-19 cases touching 6 lakhs and counting, the unanticipated but pleasant announcement by the Bharat Biotech of COVAXIN, an inactivated virus vaccine for novel coronavirus, came as a sweet respite. In the widely reported letter, the Director-General of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), has directed everyone to speed up the clinical trials.
How does a vaccine work? What is inactivated virus? How is it developed? At what stage are we in the development process? Realistically, how long will it take for the vaccine to be developed and deployed for public use.
In simple terms, an effective vaccine is a trigger that trains our 'immune system' to recognise the pathogen, say novel coronavirus, and produce appropriate antibodies and T-cells that can neutralise the virus when the infection actually occurs.
Antigen and antibodies
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