COVID Think Tank | How did we make vaccines so fast?

Vaccines were being developed even 10 to 20 years ago when SARS, MERS were common, said renowned immunologist Dr Satyajit Rath

Published: 15th June 2021 08:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th June 2021 09:06 AM   |  A+A-

technicians prepare Pfizer vaccines at the newly opened COVID-19 Vaccination Centre in Sydney, Australia.

Technicians prepare Pfizer vaccines at the newly opened COVID-19 Vaccination Centre in Sydney, Australia. (Photo | AP)

By Express News Service

Everybody is worried about how the vaccines got developed in a year. They feel that if it was this quick, then they must’ve taken shortcuts. But these vaccines have been made for the past 20 years, this virus is a member of the Coronavirus family, said Dr Satyajit Rath, a well-known immunologist and researcher.

“We met one of COVID’s relatives — SARS — 20 years ago. We met another one 10 years later — it caused the MERS epidemic. What has been similar is that all three are respiratory. But two things aren’t similar — if five people had SARS/MERS, one or two died. If 200 people get COVID-19 maybe one or two die. Today’s virus is much less lethal than the other two,” added Dr Rath while speaking on the topic The Next Epidemic: What Will We Do? at The New Indian Express’ online event COVID Think Tank that aired on June 14, 2021.

Dr Satyajit Rath

Speaking about the second difference, the Visiting Faculty at IISER, Pune said, “Research groups around the world began to make a vaccine when the other two viruses came into being. Scientifically speaking, making vaccines against these viruses are not as difficult compared to making one for TB or HIV. They began finding all the preliminary data, but in that time, we discovered the other difference — those two didn’t spread as much. Simply maintaining distance wherever there were outbreaks nipped them in the bud and transmission stopped.”


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