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Last Updated : Apr 18, 2020 08:50 PM IST | Source: PTI

COVID-19 will reboot world into virtual reality: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

"The seismic events unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic will have a powerful impact on the world we live in, changing it in ways we had never imagined were possible. The economic damage is likely to be unprecedented," Mazumdar-Shaw said.

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COVID-19 will reboot the world into virtual reality and after the crisis, work from home models are likely to continue and business travel is likely to be curtailed as virtual meetings have proved to be just as effective, Biocon Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on Saturday said.

In a blog post, she said mobile and internet banking have also seen a surge since the viral outbreak. The new world order will now become a virtual reality, she added.

"The seismic events unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic will have a powerful impact on the world we live in, changing it in ways we had never imagined were possible. The economic damage is likely to be unprecedented," Mazumdar-Shaw said.

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The world economy, worth $90 trillion at the start of the current financial year, would have lost $5 trillion and moved into recession by the time the next financial year starts, she added.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"COVID-19 is the reboot button that will trigger a system-wide overhaul. A year from now, the world we will live in will be very different. It will impact how we live, how we work, and how we use technology," Mazumdar-Shaw said.

To quote a recent McKinsey report, "In this unprecedented new reality, we will witness a dramatic restructuring of the economic and social order in which business and society have traditionally operated," she added.

This COVID-19 outbreak is a lesson that technology has many faces and being besotted with only one application of computational science is dangerous, Mazumdar-Shaw said.

"For humanity to survive, we will need a multi-disciplinary approach to advancing science and technology, combining biotechnology, biomedical technologies, biological sciences, environmental sciences, etc," she added.

The novel coronavirus has exposed the huge shortcomings in public healthcare systems, especially in developed countries where they have largely remained static since World War II, she added.

Mazumdar-Shaw said the governments will have to bring in policies to address essential healthcare infrastructure, strategic reserves of key supplies, and contingency planning for medical equipment, diagnostics, drugs and vaccines.

"COVID-19 will also cast a long shadow on our social and cultural lives," she added.

What repercussions these changes will have on the shape of human society only time can tell, Mazumdar-Shaw said.

The post-COVID-19 world is unlikely to look like the "normal" we have grown accustomed to in the recent years, she added.

"Ultimately, the greatest lesson that COVID-19 can teach humanity is that we are all in this together, that what affects a single person anywhere affects everyone everywhere, that as homo sapiens we need to think and act unitedly rather than worrying about race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, economic status, and such artificial groupings," Mazumdar-Shaw said.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
First Published on Apr 18, 2020 08:45 pm
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