Nairobi News


Scientists hopeful of major breakthrough in quest for coronavirus vaccine

Whereas the spread of the novel coronavirus has shown no indications of slowing down in the past few weeks, thus further dampening the hopes of a return to normalcy any time soon, this past week has seen the world make giant leaps in the pursuit of a potential treatment for the virus.

So far, the treatment for the virus has mainly been on a trial and error basis. By late last month, the main drug being championed for the treatment of Coronavirus was Remdesivir, a drug that was initially developed for the treatment of Ebola virus, but failed.


Remdesivir, manufactured by Gilead Sciences, a bio-pharmaceutical company, is being touted as a life saver by doctors in the US as it reduces the recovery time of patients.

The drug has since gotten the approval of the Food and Drug Authority in the US for emergency use and is set to be approved for use by countries such as Japan, Israel and India.

In Israel, the country’s first serious Covid-19 patient who was suffering from acute pneumonia and high fever to the point of unconsciousness and had to be attached to a respirator, was able to make a full recovery after being treated with Remdesivir.

Even though the race to get a vaccine for Coronavirus was initially thought to be a lengthy process that would take many months, even years, we might have a vaccine ready by this September.

Scientists from Oxford University, in a study run by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group, have come up with a potential vaccine for the disease which was tested on monkeys and proved successful.

In April this year, six rhesus macaque monkeys were vaccinated with the vaccine developed in oxford then exposed to heavy quantities of the covid-19 virus.


Surprisingly, more than 28 days later, all the six monkeys were healthy even though the same virus sickened other monkeys which had not been vaccinated. Oxford has since received £20 million in funding from the United Kingdom government and started human trials in the last week of April.

If all goes well, within six weeks, the study will have the results needed to know if the vaccine is effective in humans. If it proves effective, the vaccine will be ready for mass production by September this year.

In Japan, household goods maker Kao, together with researchers at Kitasato University this week announced that they had come up with an antibody which is capable of preventing the body from getting infected with the new coronavirus. In their lab testing, the antibody was effective in protecting body cells from infection by the Covid-19 virus.

With many countries such as China, Netherlands , India and many pharmaceutical companies involved in ground breaking research to find a vaccine and treatment for the coronavirus pandemic, the breakthroughs that have been made in recent weeks is evidence that the tides might finally be turning and the world is in the right path to winning this fight.

Even though many things are uncertain, one thing is for sure, the country that comes up with a vaccine or a treatment first is the one that will make an economic recovery fast.