The number of confirmed coronavirus cases globally has topped 25 million. That’s according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
The US leads the count with 5.9 million cases, followed by Brazil with 3.8 million and India with 3.5 million.
The real number of people infected by the virus around the world is believed to be much higher – perhaps 10 times higher in the US, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention – given testing limitations and the many mild cases that have gone unreported or unrecognised.
Global deaths from COVID-19 stand at over 842,000, with the US having the highest number with 182,779, followed by Brazil with 120,262 and Mexico with 63,819.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.