Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) health workers in PPE coveralls collect swab sample for Covid-19 tests at Kankurgachi, KMC Ward No. 32 in Kolkata, West Bengal on Friday.


People will have to keep wearing masks and follow social distancing protocols even after a vaccine against the coronavirus comes along, a top US vaccine developer has said.

Maria Elena Bottazzi, the associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, has said in an interview that the vaccine will probably reduce but not completely eliminate the chance of an inoculated person contracting the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), caused by Sars-Cov-2.

“They automatically are going to say, ‘Oh great, I’m just going to get my little vaccine, and I can go back and do exactly the things I was doing last year’. That is absolutely not true,” Bottazzi said in the interview to Business Insider.

More than 150 vaccine candidates in different stages of clinical trials across the world and 26 of them have reached the human trial phase. And out of these 26, five potential vaccines candidates have reached the Phase III or last stage of clinical trials.

Under the last phase, thousands of volunteers from different age groups are being injected with the vaccine candidate to test its safety and efficacy.

Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca are among the companies developing coronavirus vaccines that could be ready for emergency use soon. In India, two vaccine candidates are being tested on humans.

Volunteers across the country are being administered the indigenous vaccine candidates against the coronavirus disease developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) and Zydus Cadila.

Bharat Biotech and Zydus were granted permission for Phase I and II clinical trials of Covaxin and ZyCoV-D respectively and the pharmaceutical companies have said the first doses of their vaccine candidates were administered to volunteers in July.

A third vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University and backed by AstraZeneca Plc will soon be tested in India. Serum Institute of India is in a manufacturing partnership with the UK’s AstraZeneca.

The Pune-based Serum Institute has said it will be starting trials of the Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate by the end of August on up to 5,000 Indian volunteers after getting the necessary nods and launch it by June next year if all goes well.

According to Moderna, it began a pivotal trial called a phase 3 study on Monday which will show how well its vaccine works. The other companies have said they plan to begin similar research within weeks.

Bottazzi, the Texas-based scientist, said in the Business Insider interview that these first vaccines won’t be a magic solution for the coronavirus pandemic that even if they are successful.

“The moment you get a vaccine doesn’t mean you’re going to put your mask in the trash, she said. That is not going to happen. I hope people don’t think that is going to be the magic solution for all,” she said.

It all boils down to how effective these vaccines are going to be and Bottazzi said the first Covid-19 vaccines may reduce the disease but may not prevent infection. She said in the interview that she expects these vaccines are unlikely to be perfect.

More than 17.5 million people have been infected by Sars-Cov-2 and 678,775 have died across the world, according to the coronavirus tracker of Johns Hopkins University. India, the third worst-hit country, has seen nearly 1.7 million infections and 36,511 fatalities till date.



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