What scientists are working on to prevent coronavirus

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 04, 2020, 12.27 AM(IST)

A researcher works on the diagnosis of suspected coronavirus COVID-19 cases in Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, on March 26, 2020 Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The good news is, researchers are working round the clock to come up with a potential drug.

The coronavirus is spreading like a wildfire. Over a million people have been infected and we still don't have a vaccine or cure.

The good news is, researchers are working round the clock to come up with a potential drug.

There are also companies and educational institutions that are developing equipment to help us sail through the pandemic.

Vaccine

A vaccine is the only way the coronavirus can be prevented. Is there one in sight though? 35 companies and institutions are working on it.

At least 4 potential vaccines have been tested on animals. One has entered the human trial. The speed is quite unprecedented.

Given that the outbreak is 3 months old. Helping the researchers is history or the last 2 coronavirus epidemics.

SARS and MERS

The COVID-19 shares 80 to 90% of its genetic material with the SARS coronavirus.

Researchers have a headway there. So, is there a vaccine insight?

In another 12 to 18 months. That's the estimate by America's top expert on infectious disease, Anthony Fauci.

Cure

At the moment, there is no singular cure for the COVID-19.

But there is a breath of fresh hope. It has come in the form of plasma infusion. It entails using the blood of a cured patient to treat others.

This passive immunity process has shown results. It's being seen as the most viable option.

Experts say plasma infusion can speed up treatment. Plasma infusions are being done in the United States and Pakistan.

Tests and equipment

Ventilators are the need of the hour. But they are bulky expensive and few in number.

A conventional ventilator can cost over 10,000 dollars... or 7.6 lakh rupees.

The good news is that companies and institutions worldwide are developing low-cost ventilators.

In India, a top engineering college has developed a portable ventilator.

Another company is producing toaster-size ventilators.

They come with a price tag of 2000 dollars or 1.5 lakh rupees. There's also been a lot of progress in COVID-19 tests.

From point of care tests, experts are moving to antibody tests for speedy detection of cases.

Earlier medics would have to wait for 24 to 48 hours for test results.

Now, one pharma company has come up with a test that shows results in 5 minutes.

Such is the progress in just a matter of 3 months, the speed like we said is unprecedented.

Labs are working round the clock. A cure and vaccine will be on shelves soon.

After all, if winter has come, can spring be far behind?