Fact Check: COVID-19 Vaccine Now Commercially Available?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is collaborating with scientists from across the world on at least 20 different vaccines against the novel Coronavirus. Some are already in clinical trials, just 60 days after sequencing the gene, which is no small feat.
"The acceleration of this process is really truly dramatic in terms of what we're able to do, building on work that started with SARS, that started with MERS and now is being used for COVID-19," CNBC quoted Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for WHO's emergencies program as saying at a press conference in Geneva on March 20.
But some people are forwarding WhatsApp message claiming that a vaccine against the deadly virus is now commercially available. One of our community members asked us if this news was true.
The message comes with a photo showing sachets with the test 'SGTI-flex COVID-19 IgM/IgG ' displayed on the alleged vaccine.
A Facebook profile named "Tooro Television" posted the claim.
The caption accompanying the post read,"#Great news! Carona virus vaccine ready. Able to cure the patient within three hours after injection. Hats off to US Scientists. Trump announced that Roche Medical Company will launch the vaccine next Sunday, and millions of doses are ready from it!"
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#Great news! Carona virus vaccine ready. Able to cure patient within 3 hours after injection. Hats off to US Scientists. Trump announced that Roche Medical Company will launch the vaccine next Sunday, and millions of doses are ready from it! ##TTVUpdates #TTVNews #COVID19
#Great news! Carona virus vaccine ready. Able to cure patient within 3 hours after injection. Hats off to US Scientists. Trump announced that Roche Medical Company will launch the vaccine next Sunday, and millions of… https://t.co/vYcIz5OaZi— Tooro Television (@TooroTv) March 23, 2020
Vaccine for COVID-19 is now available
The claim is false. The photo being shared is not of a vaccine but a testing kit developed in South Korea.
The photo displays the name Sugentech on the sachets. A reverse search of the photo churns out reports on a South Korean pharmaceutical company called Sugentech which has developed a portable diagnostic kit that could perform the test and give the result in just 10 minutes.
According to their official website, SGTi-flex COVID-19 IgM/IgG is a gold nanoparticle-based test kit for qualitative determination of COVID-19 in the human body. The kits are accurate and easy to use and results can be observed with the naked eye within 10 minutes.
As there is no medicine or vaccine, the best way to combat this infection is isolation. Many people don't have symptoms. and act as a passive carrier of the virus. Hence, a quick diagnosis is very important. SGTi-flex COVID-19 IgM/IgG enables to help for the community to identify infection and isolate people without symptoms but suspected COVID-19.
Strategies For COVID-19 Vaccine
Maryland (USA)-based Novavax is trying to construct a "recombinant" vaccine. This involves extracting the genetic code for the protein spike on the surface of Sars-CoV-2, which is the part of the virus most likely to induce an immune response in humans and pasting it into the genome of a bacterium or yeast – forcing these microorganisms to churn out large quantities of the protein, The Guardian reported.
Other approaches, even newer, bypass the protein and build vaccines from the genetic instruction itself. This is the case for Moderna and another Boston company, CureVac, both of which are building Covid-19 vaccines out of messenger RNA.
Until a successful vaccine is found, the best course of action is to stop the spread of the virus.
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