As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus or COVID-19 and with the number of cases rising daily along with the death toll, many scientists around the world are working on war-footing to find a vaccine for the disease. Several vaccine candidates are currently at different stages of the trial, but one particular candidate is proving to be the front-runner in the race.
The vaccine made by a team from the University of Oxford is showing promising results and can turn out to be the new holy grail for the humankind. Sarah Gilbert, who is the leader of the team that is developing the vaccine, has mentioned that she is pretty much confident about their candidate and she has voiced her confidence by stating that the Oxford vaccine has an 80 percent probability of protecting people from the novel coronavirus.
Oxford Vaccine the Holy Grail of COVID-19?
Blood samples collected from a group of volunteers who were given a dose of the vaccine showed that it stimulated the body to produce antibodies and also killer T-cells, a senior source from the team told The Daily Telegraph. This discovery raised the hopes of many experts as several studies have pointed out that the antibodies can fade away within months but the T-cells might stay for years. In April, Oxford agreed to a deal with pharma giant AstraZeneca Plc for spearheading the worldwide manufacturing and distribution.
But, the lead figure behind the development of the vaccine had to involve her family in the process to guide mankind out of this unprecedented crisis that started in late 2019. Gilbert's three children, the 21-year-old triplets, who are all studying biochemistry, took part in the trial for the experimental vaccine. "We didn't really discuss it as I wasn't home much at the time," Gilbert told Bloomberg. She mentioned that she was never worried about her kids.
"We know the adverse event profile and we know the dose to use, because we've done this so many times before. Obviously we're doing safety testing, but we're not concerned," she said. Gilbert is focussing on how fast the vaccine can be provided to the people around the world as her children survived the trials with flying colors.
Polio Vaccine Study
This incident has an uncanny resemblance to another trial event that took place in the past, which changed the lives of humans. When Dr. Albert Sabin, American-Polish researcher, was testing a vaccine using live but weakened poliovirus the American authorities were reluctant to take the risk of conducting live-virus trials.
Sabin gave three strains of the attenuated virus to a married couple who were virologists in Moscow. Dr. Mikhail Chumakov and his wife Dr. Marina Vorshilova gave it to their three sons and many nieces and nephews in 1959, taking the risk with the aim of eliminating polio from the world. The study was then extended to 320,000 people and it was found that it worked. Today the vaccine has helped to nearly eradicate the disease.
Will the Coming Days Get Brighter?
The trials conducted for the COVID-19 vaccine are on the same lines with the leader of the team risking the lives of her family to guide the world out of this catastrophe that may put her name in the history books.
Now, time will tell us whether she gets rewarded for the risks she took and for the determination and perseverance she is showing throughout the process. The Oxford vaccine can turn out to be that light at the end of the tunnel that the world has been longing to see in recent times.