As on date 95 trials for developing a cure are in progress while there are 50 plus vaccine candidates world-wide, all in development stage. A vaccine alone can introduce an immune response, but it is still at least 18 months away. Meantime therapeutic treatments like antibiotics, antivirals, and RNA based treatments will have to replace it and have to be used for treating patients. There are four treatment options that are being assessed for their efficacy. In India, for example National Institute of Virology and Department of Biotechnology are leading a score of research institutes, with more than 7000 proposals, in finding a cure. Thus about 40 plus drugs are being treated for their possible deployment in the treatment of COVID-19. To tell the truth, however as of now only two vaccine have reached human trial stage, one in China and the other one in USA. In India there is one candidate jointly being developed by a pharma company and a research institute. But it is under preclinical trial; thus even if successful, it is at least 24 months away. It is clear thus while a vaccine may be a better cure, therapeutic treatment is quicker to administer. Not only a vaccine is at least one and a half year away, it may come with side effects which unravel themselves in long run only. And there is ofcourse hope. Drugs offering at least partial treatment may be only few months away, after randomised control trials, since joint trials are on. Meanwhile, companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, Seqirus, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Sanofi and Zydus, Cadila, among others, are actively on to the job of undertaking research and eventually develop a vaccine against the deadest disease.
It is reassuring to know that the disease is curable in nearly 80% of the cases. But highly skilled resources are required to treat patients who are at high risk of going through Acute Respiratory Distress syndrome. Hence social distancing and isolation are the most effective remedies currently. 90% of the diseases is manageable this way. For example the rampant infections in the US have accounted for nearly a quarter of over 1 million cases in US alone, with total deaths exceeding more than 7,000. India has been rather proactive in declaring a lockdown which has reduced the fatalities to less than 100. Callousness anywhere will be more threatening than COVID. Almost 60,000 people have died worldwide. Yet, while simple masks or even scarves can prevent spread of infection, Trump says: “It is going to be a really astonishing thing. You don’t have to do it and I am choosing not to do it.” Contrast this leadership with the one provided by Modi in India. And it becomes clear why India has not yet faced community spread. COVID does not differentiate between rich and poor, but it does between wise and foolish. So be wise and save yourself and others.