We can expect COVID-19 vaccine by end of 2020 as 10,000 volunteers will participate in Phase III of Oxford vaccine trials, Dr Bimal Das tells EastMojo in exclusive interview
New Delhi: We can expect a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020, as 10,000 volunteers will participate in Phase III of Oxford vaccine trials, said Dr Bimal Das, a Professor of Microbiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.
Dr Das and Dr Abhijit Bhattacharya, a paediatrician and neonatologist at Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, United Kingdom, were live on EastMojo’s new show Calling Home to talk about keeping ourselves and loved ones safe as India enters phase 1 of lifting lockdowns.
Speaking during the show, Dr Das said that COVID-19 has a high viral load in the throat, so wearing masks can help prevent infection to an extent, and we could potentially develop herd immunity to the virus.
In light of rising number of positive COVID-19 cases, Dr Bhattacharya said ”we should not be opening schools or letting kids play out with other kids”.
Dr Bhattacharya’s advice for parents with young children and expecting mothers: “Avoid the outdoors, Avoid sending children to school or daycare, wash hands frequently, cover face with masks when stepping out.
For expecting mothers, he advised them to visit the hospital for any discomfort because the risk outweighs the benefits of staying at home and not seeking medical care.
He also added that no vertical transmission of COVID-19 from mother to unborn babies has been observed till now. So far, there's no evidence either to believe that patients could get re-infected with COVID-19.
The daily number of infected cases in the country is increasing because of increased testing as well as more movement (especially of students and migrants) across the country.
Dr Das remained positive that with strict regulations and continued practice of social distancing, India will control COVID-19 much before 80% of the country get exposed to the coronavirus.
On possibility of COVID-19 resurfacing in the future, after a working vaccine is introduced, Dr Das said: “COVID-19 maybe a permanent fixture as a human pathogen.”
Dr Das also spoke about other efforts where the “BCG vaccination could have some kind of a role to play” (in fighting COVID-19).
He added: “In adults with co-morbid risk factors like hypertension or diabetes it needs to be seen if the immune system can be boosted with the BCG vaccine as it accentuates cell-mediated immune response. ” BCG or the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin vaccine is a vaccine primarily used against tuberculosis.
Watch EastMojo's exclusive show Calling Home here: