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Friday, Nov 20, 2020 12:30 [IST]

Last Update: Friday, Nov 20, 2020 06:49 [IST]

Staying positive

Even as we struggle with a second and a possible third wave of Covid-19 infections, the news of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines showing promising results back to back is definitely encouraging and welcomed.
And just a few days later, the University of Oxford confirmed that the Covid-19 vaccine it’s developing with AstraZeneca Plc produced strong immune responses in older adults in an early study, with pivotal findings from the final phase of trials expected in the coming weeks.
The results, published Thursday in The Lancet medical journal, shed more light on preliminary data released in recent months showing the experimental shot generated an immune response in older people, who are at highest risk of severe illness. Researchers are still eagerly awaiting late-stage trial results that will show whether the Astra-Oxford vaccine can meet the high bar set by front-runners Moderna and Pfizer.
The team is also testing whether the vaccine stops people developing Covid-19 in larger Phase 3 trials and early results from this crucial stage are expected in the coming weeks. Oxford said that its vaccine was not only well tolerated in older adults, but also stimulated similar immune responses to those seen in younger volunteers. The next step will be to see if this translates into protection from the disease itself.
This means there are now four promising vaccines on the horizon after Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik and Moderna already reporting good preliminary data from Phase 3 trials. Those findings will follow a flurry of positive news on the vaccine front.
Now, side effects of these possible vaccines are next the big challenge. Regulatory authorities are gearing up for a deluge in people reporting side effects when the new Covid-19 vaccines go into use. Even if the vaccines prove safe — a reasonable assumption based on current information — managing the reporting and follow-up of what are known as adverse drug reactions will be critical to keeping to the high levels of public participation needed for a vaccination programme to be successful.
Effective monitoring is especially important given these vaccines will be released with less safety follow-up than is typical for widely used shots. Having a robust system to log, analyze and allow for prompt feedback from reported side effects is essential to ensuring public safety. Combined with clear communication, it will also be central to building confidence in the new vaccines.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi