The Viral Bulletin

The Hot Wire for Coronovirus Updates

 

These past 5 months have been a little too homely for everyone. Coming from bustling busy schedules and a fast lifestyle, accepting this switch was difficult. It truly taught us how to enjoy our own company and keep up with a fairly moribund life.

This period brought in anxiety and stress with it. Work From Home, famously abbreviated to WFH, initially seemed like a novel idea to be practised in comfortable settings is now slowly wearing off, and the stress of its challenges is becoming more evident. While the stress of commuting big distances has reduced, the fact that we cannot meet our co-workers and a lack of structure is creating a feeling of missing out on the kind of life we had before.

Different new stressors are introduced to the existing work-related stress issues, and scientists are coming up with quick and easy to apply solutions to reduce this feeling of unease.

In these trying times, a fixed schedule will not only properly help to channelize one’s focus but also give each day a proper shape. Staying virtually connected and updated will make social distancing easier to keep up with. Sometimes all one needs is a friendly ‘hello, how do you do’ to make your day brighter.

One thing we rarely do is reward ourselves after a good job. Try to do that more. It may be rewarding oneself a power nap or a bar of Snickers, but it will freshen up the drive to work more for the rest of the day.

According to WHO, being healthy is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Let us all aim for a healthy life!

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Now, coming to a new hot update: The Russians just pulled off another ‘ Sputnik’! No, not a novel space venture, but a novel vaccine against Covid-19! This vaccine, which has very aptly been trade-named as ‘Sputnik -V’, is the world’s first vaccine to be registered in the market on the 11th of August, 2020, after getting approved by the Russian Ministry of Health.

It was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, and thus its official name is Gam-COV-Vac. The vaccine itself works via an adenoviral two-vector delivery mechanism. Specifically, these vectors are modified versions of the human adenovirus (the common cold virus), containing the Spike-protein (S-protein) of the SARS-CoV2 virus. These proteins are what impart the typical “crown” structure to the Coronavirus. Here, these vectors can be thought of as analogous to paintball guns: They do fire the ammunition, but the target remains unharmed! Now, the adenoviral vectors are completely harmless to humans, yet they manage to elicit an immune response in our body due to the presence of the S-protein on them. The two vectors are to be delivered into our bodies at an interval of roughly 21 days, with the second vector acting as the booster dose to elicit a stronger immune response.

Trials are currently underway for the vaccine; however, it has also been approved for administration to the public under emergency protocols. Of course, the vaccine still needs more data from the public trials to back its efficacy throughout the human population. However, the rapid development of this vaccine has re-established mankind’s faith in science, and has indeed caused a ‘Sputnik moment’ in the world!

Meanwhile, Moderna in association with NIH and BARDA started their Phase 3 trials of their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, mRNA 1273. A study of the same was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on July 28, 2020. It is estimated that Moderna, in association with Lonza will be soon able to manufacture up to 1 billion doses of their vaccine.

The mRNA 1273 is a very unique vaccine. It does not depend on any vector to be registered to the recipient. Instead, the mRNA, which is like the code for humans’ “program” of proteins, is directly injected into humans near their lymph nodes. This mRNA is however encapsulated in a Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) encasing. The mRNA codes for the Spike-protein of the Coronavirus, and is thus able to elicit an immune response in the recipient against this protein.

 

 

Writers:

 

Urja Kuber

Co-Founder at The Science Paradox 

Luminaa Anandh

Co-Founder at The Science Paradox

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