China reported 29 more deaths on Thursday from the new coronavirus epidemic, the lowest daily figure in almost a month, and the number of fresh infections rose slightly. The death toll now stands at 2,744 in mainland China, according to the National Health Commission.
The daily tally of fatalities has fallen for three straight days now, hitting the lowest mark since January 29, when 26 new deaths were reported.
The commission reported 433 new cases, with all but 24 in central Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak that first emerged in December in its capital, Wuhan.
There are now nearly 78,500 cases in total.
The number of new infections outside Hubei had been falling steadily in the past week, but it went back up from five on Wednesday.
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.