Covid is changing, and so are vaccines

Science is helping us win the fight against the coronavirus pandemic

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Published: Mon 15 Aug 2022, 11:19 PM

Covid may be finally losing its sting after infecting 590 million people and claiming 6.4 million lives since January 2020. We may be at the tail-end of the global health crisis that stopped us in our tracks two years ago, and sent countries into lockdowns.

For many, dealing with Covid seemed like an eternity, after the disease stole their loved ones, leaving them to grieve in silence after death struck its heavy hand through a deadly pathogen whose origins remain unclear, though the first case has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan.

However, science came to the rescue, and researchers produced an array of vaccines at record-breaking speed - including the game-changing mRNA that was deployed to counter the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Since the winter of 2020, vaccines have brought cases and fatalities down to manageable levels and people are getting on and moving ahead with their lives. The ’crisis phase’ has paved the way to a ‘breakout era’ from the coronavirus that disrupted and shattered the lives we once knew and often took for granted.

Covid cases reached their peak led by the rampaging Omicron variant on January 19 this year with 4.07 million people falling sick. On Sunday, however, the figure has fallen to a benign 454,922. There’s less strain on the health system that has risen to the task and has saved lives through treatment while rapidly putting vaccines into the arms of millions around the world.

Healthcare professionals are better trained and equipped to deal with the coronavirus and its variants. In the UAE, cases have fallen below the 800 mark, with no deaths being reported on Monday.

People are preparing for a post-Covid world and new beginnings. Many have gone on vacation after two years of living in fear as the disease stalked humanity and brought life to a standstill.

First, there was fear, then fatigue. Today there’s an air of familiarity when dealing with the disease which might not go away but could become less infectious and mild in the long term.

Vaccine manufacturers understand this and are tweaking jabs to target specific variants like Omicron. But the good news is that Omicron and its sub-lineages are less fatal. Moderna’s new vaccine targeting this variant has already been approved by the EU.

In India, an intranasal vaccine has passed safety tests and could win approvals from health regulators soon. Such a vaccine could prove beneficial for people in low-income countries and can be administered easily as a booster.

Researchers, meanwhile, are working on pan-coronavirus vaccines that target future variants. Science is helping us win the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

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