Coronavirus Vaccine

Tom Hanks and His Wife are Donating Blood for Coronavirus Vaccine Research

We all know that both Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson got infected with the novel coronavirus. After being diagnosed in Australia with COVID-19, the couple returned to the U.S.

Not they are willing to donate their blood and plasma to help the research for the vaccine after they’ve got the confirmation that they carry antibodies for the virus.

Tom appeared on NPR’s podcast, “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” and he shared how he and Rita are feeling now.

He said that now they are feeling fine, but they did have all of the flu symptoms and that Rita was feeling worse than him. He shared that she had a very high temperature, but now she is feeling much better. On the same podcast, he revealed that both of them carry the antibodies.

Hanks said that many approached them for studies, but they’ve already volunteered to donate their blood and plasma. He even joked that he wishes that they will find the “Hank-cinne”.

Rita also gave an interview about their recovery, and she did it with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King. She shared their recovery journey and how she felt when she had all of the symptoms. Rita said how she felt exhausted and extremely uncomfortable. Her fever was severe and close to 102 when she was given chloroquine.

Rita confessed that she doesn’t know if the drug realty worked or it was just time for the fever to vanish, but it did.

Russians are Finding a Coronavirus Vaccine

A small Russian town called Koltsovo with 15000 residents has come into spotlight these days because of its Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology “Vector” whose scientists recently announced that they had made 13 coronavirus vaccine prototypes and their experiments are currently ongoing.

The initial testing will be done on animals and, afterwards, analyses will be made to make sure the vaccine is harmless to humans.

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The main task of this Research Center is to scientifically resist global dangers of the infectious nature. It has the largest collection of viruses in the world, and it is being financed from the state budget.

These scientists have also been one of the first people to make the tests for COVID-19. Today, the news has gotten even better – 13 coronavirus vaccine prototypes were made in this Institute. The first trials are said to begin this June.

Vector was the first in Russia to develop tests for HIV as well as hepatitis B. They are collaborating with many immunology centers from the former USSR countries, as well as WHO (World Health Organization). There are 160 employees, 139 of them having a PhD or a Master’s degree in Science.

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Since 2013, this is where the paths of infections and virus mutations are being researched. It is said to be the only center in Russia that is fully capable of handling and contributing to the fight with viruses – Vector is one of the 6 centers chosen by the WHO to lead the fight with COVID-19.

However, manufacturing the coronavirus vaccine is not expected to start until the last quarter of 2020, due to the strict vaccine protocols that must be followed to ensure the safety of everyone. After the animal experimentations are complete, two options with the best results will be chosen, and the mass-production will begin.

When will the Coronavirus Vaccine be Ready?

Even the most rigorous containment strategies have only slowed down the spread of the respiratory disease Covid-19.

The World Health Organization finally declared a pandemic, and everyone is concerned about the vaccine since only it can stop making people sick.

About 35 companies and academic institutions are trying to create such a vaccine, and at least four of them already have candidates started testing in animals. Boston-based biotech firm Moderna produces the first of these. It will begin with human trials in April.

This fast speed is largely thanks to early Chinese efforts to sequence the genetic material of Sars-CoV-2. That is the virus which causes Covid-19.

China shared their knowledge in early January and allowed research groups around the world to grow the live virus and study how it manages to invade the human cells.

“The speed with which we have [produced these candidates] builds very much on the investment in understanding how to develop vaccines for other coronaviruses,” said Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Oslo-based nonprofit the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi).

Coronaviruses have caused two other epidemics, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) in China in 2002-04, and also the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers). It started in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Sars-CoV-2 shares around 80% and 90% of its genetic material with the virus, which caused Sars. They both consist of a strip of ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is located inside a spherical protein capsule. That capsule is covered in spikes.

Clinical trials usually take place in three phases. The first involves a few healthy volunteers, tests the vaccine for safety, and monitors for adverse effects. The second one involves several hundred people, usually in a part of the world that is affected by the disease and looks at how effective the vaccine is.  The third phase is the same, but it is done on several thousand people.