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Coronavirus pandemic: COVID-19 is here to stay, WHO envoy suggests

Talking about the chances of the novel coronavirus outbreak worsening in India, Nabarro said the size of India’s population and underdeveloped public health service indeed pose a threat.

March 27, 2020 / 06:30 PM IST
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Representative Image

The novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 24,000 people across the globe, is going to be the “new reality”, warned World Health Organization (WHO) special envoy for coronavirus pandemic David Nabarro.

Warning of a future where coronavirus infections would be common, he said identifying those infected during the first outbreak and isolating them to prevent transmission would help “flatten the curve”, India Today reported.

Nabarro said: “I believe that the world will have to learn to live with the corona in our midst, and that means, being on a constant defence everywhere as we do with other infectious diseases. Then, you can avoid these giant outbreaks occurring. The whole world, on alert, ready to pounce as soon as these new cases emerge. I don’t think we can, at this stage, talk about ending the pandemic. It’s going to be the new reality for everybody.”

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Commenting on the benefits of a complete lockdown, the WHO official said such dramatic actions will help reduce the intensity of the coronavirus pandemic that seems to double every other day.

Stressing on the need for government intervention, he reiterated how person-to-person transmissions of the deadly virus must be stopped. To do so, infected persons will have to be kept away from healthy individuals, so that the virus is not passed on and spread further.


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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He added that the best way to go about it would be to isolate people exhibiting COVID-19 for a minimum of 14 days. While a complete lockdown is an effective tool to achieve this, the measure needs to be coupled with community-level efforts such as strict social distancing.

Talking about the chances of the novel coronavirus outbreak worsening in India, Nabarro said the size of India’s population and underdeveloped public health service indeed pose a threat.

He assured that rapid government action may bring about a positive change in the situation later, but right now, the number of COVID-19 positive cases are bound to increase in India, just like they did in other countries.

Moneycontrol News
first published: Mar 27, 2020 06:30 pm
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