• Shiva Prakash M C

“FRONT-RUNNERS” IN THE RACE FOR COVID-19 VACCINE!


As we all know, the whole world has been suffering from the pandemic COVID-19 since last 3 to 4 months with the cases reaching the peak day by day. Till date around 97,64,997 cases are found all over the world, while the scientists and researchers of various countries are working day and night to find the vaccine for pandemic COVID-19.


Researchers are studying several types of drugs which can be used to treat the pandemic COVID-19 that has been spread to over 200 countries and about 5,08,953 positive cases in India at present. Most of the drugs being worked upon are re-purposed and an anti-viral drugs which has been used previously to treat other viruses. For instance, Favipiravir was used to treat influenza in Japan, while Remdesivir was tested on Ebola and some of the drugs developed to treat HIV, such as Lopinavir and Ritonavir, are also being tested to cure COVID-19.


The development of new drug will take around 5-10 years and as we do not have much time to develop a new drug, scientists and researchers are mainly focusing on re-using of an old medications which has been used for treating other ailments. More than 130 drugs are under clinical trial experimentation to treat COVID-19, where some may have the potential to stop the virus, while others may help to calm down an overactive immune response that damages various organs.


Some of the drugs which are being used to treat the patients of corona virus and are under advanced clinical trial stages are “Remdesivir, Astrazeneca, Moderna, Lopinavir-Ritonavir, Favipiravir and Hydroxychloroquine”. An Indian scientist “Soumya Swaminathan” said, Astrazeneca vaccine can be the leading one and most advanced in terms of development and Moderna is also not far behind among the 15 vaccines which has entered the clinical trials.


Gilead Sciences has said that, it will soon start their clinical trials for an inhaled formulation of an antiviral drug “Remdesivir”, which can be used for the treatment of COVID-19 and it’s being used to treat the patients through an emergency use authorizations and it is found under clinical trials that, Remdesivir has shown the most promising results and the patients who received this drug had a 31% faster time to recovery than other medicines. But, Gilead Sciences are still exploring the full potential of Remdesivir to help the people against pandemic COVID-19.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, to sell the generic versions of Favipiravir for the treatment of COVID-19 and it was originally invented by a Japanese company which was meant to treat influenza. Due to an outbreak of COVID-19, doctors in Russia and china started using it for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.


Based on the Phase-3 data, Glenmark has obtained an approval for manufacturing and marketing of an antiviral drug Favipiravir under the brand name “FabiFlu”, which can be used for treating the patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 conditions. The company claimed that, Favipiravir shows the clinical improvements of upto 88 percent in COVID-19 patients, with a rapid reduction in viral load by four days. Preferably, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals will be launching an antiviral drug at a price of Rs.103 per tablet and drug will be available as a 200 mg tablet with maximum retail price (MRP) of Rs.3,500 for a strip of 34 tablets.


On the other hand, “Lopinavir-Ritonavir” is a duo which was widely used for the treatment of HIV and also a potential vaccine for the treatment of COVID-19. Lopinavir is a protease inhibitor, formulated in combination with an other protease inhibitor known as Ritonavir which inhibits the metabolizing enzyme called cytochrome P450 3A and therefore increases the half-life of Lopinavir.


World Health Organization (WHO) is coordinating its efforts in development of vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 and many of them are under clinical trials. Let’s hope for the rapid detection of a vaccine which can cure the pandemic COVID-19 completely all over the world.


Please share your reviews in the comment section about COVID-19 situation and the solution for finding a vaccine if any.

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