As Covid-19 cases continue to surge in various parts of the world, scientists are working tirelessly to develop treatments and vaccines to minimise the impact and slow down the pandemic.

According to an official with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccines being developed in China may be ready for use in November by the general public.

Dr Bruce Y. Lee, professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, says: “People are looking into whether existing antivirals might work or whether new drugs could be developed to try to tackle the virus.”

Since a vaccine needs to be tested several times for efficiency and accuracy, China has four vaccines for Covid-19 in the final stages of clinical trials.

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Scientists have identified three stages that the virus can be targeted – keeping the virus from entering people’s cells, preventing it from replicating inside the cells, and minimising the damage that the virus does to the organs. This prompts a wider screening of existing drugs to see if they could work against the new coronavirus.

In an interview with State TV on Monday, 14th September, Guizhen Wu, the CDC Chief Biosafety expert, said that clinical trials for phase three were proceeding smoothly and the public could get the vaccine in November or December.

British scientists have also begun a study to try can use with a vaccine that can be inhaled instead of injecting.

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Dr Chris Chiu, of Imperial College, London, says: “We have evidence that delivering influenza vaccines via a nasal spray can protect people against flu as well as help to reduce the transmission of the disease.”

Researchers at Oxford University and Imperial College London said in a statement on Monday that 30 people would be involved in testing their vaccines developed by both institutions, where they would orally inhale the droplets, which will directly target the respiratory system. The study aims to see if inhaling the vaccine is more effective.

The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom, says: “We all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there is no silver bullet at the moment, and there might never be. For now, stopping outbreaks come down to the basics of public health and disease control.”

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